The Government, obliged to report the ICO guarantees required for non-compliance
The Government will have to report the List of ICO guarantees granted to companies to mitigate the impacts derived from the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine whose reimbursement has been requested from the beneficiaries due to breach of the conditions. Specifically, it must detail the amount of the operation, the money claimed and whether the funds have already been recovered or are in the claim phase, as estimated by the Council for Transparency and Good Governance (CTBG).
According to the CTBG resolution, consulted by La Información, on April 26, 2022, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation was asked, in addition to said information, for the identity of the affected companies. The Official Credit Institute (ICO), attached to the portfolio headed by Nadia Calviño, rejected the petition, justifying itself in the “alleged prejudice to economic and commercial interests and the duty of confidentiality”as stated in the claim filed with Transparency.
For its part, on June 22, 2022, the CTBG forwarded the file to Economía so that it could make the allegations it deemed appropriate. “In the case at hand, and without the need for the affected third parties to make allegations against the disclosure of their data, it is clear that make public the non-payment of the line of credit and its amount could call into question your professional and economic solvencyharming its reputation and in many cases the commercialization of its services, as well as its ability to obtain credit in the future and to maintain and expand its contractual activity,” argued the public entity.
The ICO defended that, if said information is made public, the competitors of the companies from which the return of the guarantees has been requested would have “strategic information” that they could use not only in their favor, but also against those affected, “being detrimental to their competitiveness and weakening their position in the market.” The information about the operations guaranteed under Royal Decree-Law 8/2020 and Royal Decree-Law 25/2020 It is actively advertised in the national database of subsidies, which details the date of award, the amount, the instrument and the amount of the equivalent aid per beneficiary.
It is the financial entities (and not the ICO) who analyze the eligibility conditions and grant the guaranteed operation in accordance with their risk policies and internal admission procedures. The revocations or invalidations of guarantees in many cases are carried out before the communication of non-payments Therefore, no refunds are applicable, since the guarantee has not been executed.
As explained by the ICO, possible revocations or invalidations of the guarantee can occur for various reasons: withdrawal of the parties, errors in the loading and data of the operations by financial institutions, non-payment of the cost of the guarantee, etc. They can also be given for non-compliance with the eligibility conditions according to the regulations of the covid guarantee lines. “This revocation may also be due to non-compliance with the general regulations on subsidies or other causes, such as the judicial or administrative disqualification of the borrower from receiving subsidies and that could reveal other supervisory bodies other than the ICO”, the organization qualifies, stressing that it does not it is possible “neither to obtain, nor to elaborate, nor to publish the requested information”.
The ICO requested that the claim filed be dismissed, but the CTBG has only partially responded to its request. Transparency considers “unquestionable” and “undoubted” the public interest of the list of ICO guarantees granted to companies due to the pandemic whose reimbursement has been required, “to the extent that it contributes to understanding how very significant sums of public funds are managed”. However, he believes that disclosure of the complete list of companies that have defaulted on financing obligations would be “clearly disproportionate”.
“Knowing the amounts of the guarantees whose execution has been requested and their status, the public interest in knowing the complete list of the affected companies presents a lesser entity that, in the necessary weighting, prevents it from prevailing over the certain damage and objective that its disclosure would cause. Consequently, the claim must be dismissed at this point,” he argues.
The ICO-backed lines of credit set up to guarantee financing for Spanish companies and self-employed workers affected by the economic effects of the coronavirus have deployed guarantees amounting to 107,102 million euros, which in turn have made it possible to mobilize 140,627 million euros towards the Spanish productive fabric. According to the latest data available from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the liquidity and investment guarantee lines have financed more than 750,000 companies, the self-employed and SMEs through 1.19 million operations, of which 98% have been subscribed by SMEs and freelancers.
Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of March 17, approved a line of State guarantees of up to 100,000 million euros to help maintain employment and alleviate the economic effects of the health crisis. Subsequently, Royal Decree-Law 25/2020, of July 3, gave the green light to another line of guarantees of 40,000 million euros, focused on covering financing for current and capital expenses related to new investments or the process production and service, expansion, adaptation or renewal of equipment, facilities and capacities and the expenses associated with restarting the activity.
The Government has also extended until December 31, 2023 the line of guarantees included in the Response Plan to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has an endowment of 10,000 million euros. Sources from the Ministry of Economic Affairs assure this medium that The Executive’s idea is to publish a report per quarter once the guarantee programs are closed.