KIO records stolen from Spanish ministry

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The Independent Online
FINANCIAL records covering the Kuwait Investment Office's businesses in Spain have been stolen from a ministry in Madrid, to the severe embarrassment of the Spanish government.

The KIO's Spanish holding company, Grupo Torras, was put into receivership in December when new managers at the head of the KIO alleged that the whole of Kuwait's dollars 4bn investment in the country had been wiped out.

Last month the KIO filed a writ against the former managers of Torras, accusing them of a fraud involving more than 100,000m pesetas (dollars 860m).

The writ was, however, turned down by Miguel Moreiras, the judge in charge of financial prosecutions, on the basis that the investigation should first be concluded by the civil court.

He also criticised the lack of evidence in the writ, which had been prepared by one of Spain's most respected law firms. The KIO has appealed.

Carlos Solchaga, the economics minister, announced yesterday that diskettes containing all the information on the KIO's investments as far back as 1988 had been stolen from a government department on Thursday night.

He considered there to be two possible motives for the robbery - to sell them to the media or embarrass the government.