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Spanish court to grill billionaire Villar Mir over contract rigging allegations
November 29, 2016 / 7:45 PM / a year ago

Spanish court to grill billionaire Villar Mir over contract rigging allegations

MADRID, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Spanish billionaire and former finance minister Juan Miguel Villar Mir will face questioning by a judge over alleged irregularities in the award of a hospital construction contract to his real estate conglomerate, a court said on Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege that Grupo Villar Mir (GVM), the private holding that the 85-year-old industrialist has spent the past 30 years building up, won the contract in 2006 by rigging the auction. Villar Mir has always denied any wrongdoing.

GVM owns a majority stake in Spanish builder OHL. After the allegations first surfaced in 2006, the contract worth 600 million euros ($638.46 million) was handed to a subsidiary of another Madrid-listed builder, ACS.

Reuters could not immediately reach Villar Mir, an influential business leader who sits on the board of Spain’s biggest bank Santander.

He will be questioned on Jan. 9 via video link along with six other people involved in the tender to build the Son Espases hospital on the island of Mallorca, Judge Jose Castro wrote in a court ruling.

Villar Mir and his family have the fifth-biggest fortune in Spain, valued at $3.1 billion according to Forbes. Villar Mir passed on the chairmanship of OHL to his son in July. ($1 = 0.9398 euros) (Reporting by Rodrigo Miguel; Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by Richard Lough)

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