Orcel's criminal suit against Santander rejected by Spanish court

By Emma Pinedo and Jesús Aguado

By Emma Pinedo and Jesús Aguado

MADRID (Reuters) - Italian banker Andrea Orcel's criminal lawsuit against Santander has been rejected by a Madrid court, a document seen by Reuters showed.

Orcel was offered the CEO job at Santander in 2018 but the bank changed its mind in January 2019, saying it could not meet his pay demands.

Santander's decision to withdraw the job offer marked a rare U-turn involving such a high-profile appointment at a major bank.

Orcel in the criminal lawsuit claimed that Santander submitted as evidence four emails in which the bank redacted its logo and sender's name in an attempt to mislead the judge.

But the Madrid criminal court said the content of the emails was not contested.

"The defendant's conduct would fall within the crime of attempted procedural fraud, if the submission of the four emails, without the sender (name) and with or without the bank's logo were suitable to mislead the court, which despite the effort of the complainant (Orcel) is unlikely, because the content of these emails is not contested," the court said in its document.

The document, dated Feb 11 but released on Friday, said Orcel's lawsuit did not meet the legal requirements to proceed against Santander.

Orcel can appeal within five days before a regional court.

Santander and Orcel's law firm, DeCarlos Remon, declined to comment.

Orcel, one of Europe's most high-profile bankers, is suing Santander for 112 million euros ($121.42 million) in a separate civil lawsuit claiming breach of contract.

Orcel had resigned as head of UBS's investment banking business to take up the Santander offer.

Orcel has alleged that a four-page letter in which Santander offered him the job was legally binding, while Santander says the letter did not constitute a contract as defined by Spanish law.

A hearing regarding the civil lawsuit is scheduled for April 13, the court spokesman said.

($1 = 0.9224 euros)


(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Jesús Aguado; editing by David Evans and Jason Neely)