Barcelona. (EFE) .- Alfredo I., the owner of Brighton English academies , who went bankrupt in 2002 leaving thousands of students in the street , has accepted a three-year prison sentence in the trial that has been held against He at the Audiencia de Barcelona, after a decade of broken training. In the fifth section of the Audiencia de Barcelona the trial against Alfredo I was scheduled today, for whom the Prosecutor’s Office initially requested eight years in prison, plus a fine of 14,400 euros, for a punishable insolvency offense and another for continued fraud.
The public prosecutor , however, has withdrawn the accusation for the crime of insolvency punishable and has left in three years the penalty for fraud after the owner of the academies agreed to settle for that sentence reduction. The agreement, which has prevented the holding of a trial that was to last for weeks, also includes four of the five banks that the prosecution also accused as civil liability, for having continued to charge students who had subscribed loans with them to pay for English courses.
Only Banco Pastor has refused to accept the pact with the public prosecutor, who has withdrawn his accusation against the other banking entities for having consigned the money that was claimed to them in the criminal process. The Accés Language company, owner of the Brighton academies, of which the defendant was the sole administrator, has also complied with the agreement, as explained by the lawyer representing them, Jordi Busquets. The defendant has accepted before the court the facts attributed by the Prosecutor for the bankruptcy of the language academies, which he created in April 1999 with the opening of several centers in Barcelona and the Barcelona towns of Badalona, Martorell and Sabadell.
According to the facts included in the fiscal qualification brief, and which have been accepted by the defendant, in 2001, due to the ” generalized crisis ” of the sector and the expansionist policy of the business, the defendant was faced with several economic problems that led him to default on the rent payment of the leased premises. For the prosecutor, this expansionist policy was due in part to the aggressive advertising of the product as a “new business policy” that consisted of requiring students to pay for the contracted course early, allowing them to finance it through a medium-term loan with banking entities. who had previously arranged their concession with the accused.
In 2001, the company’s short-term debts were 1.1 million euros, which it faced without the ability to repay them, so their situation was “technical bankruptcy”, due to lack of assets and sufficient income to meet the payment required. However, according to the prosecutor, the defendant, failing to do his duties and knowing his insolvency situation, “which he had hidden with obvious profit motive”, continued to offer courses, including fifteen different languages, with significant price reductions and hiring verbally to new teachers.
In 2002, the company’s losses amounted to 57,064 euros and its debts to 1.5 million , with a total of 3,783 students enrolled. According to the prosecutor, on October 29, 2002, the defendant, who “continued to offer his courses and admitting student enrollments until the day before,” presented a voluntary bankruptcy petition in the courts, without informing the workers or the students. of the academies. The case for English academies Brighton came to trial in 2008, but a judicial oblivion forced to return it to instruction because almost 1,400 injured had been left out of process.
The prosecutor argued that he did not include those affected in his qualification because he trusted a list provided by court of instruction number 25, in which only a thousand students were registered. Although in the hearing room the defendant has accepted the integrity of facts that he accused the prosecution, in a statement sent to the media has ensured that at no time “acted in bad faith, or with profit to profit” and also invested ” until the last moment “your personal assets to be able to continue with the activity of the company.
The defendant alleges in the statement that he commissioned a computer company a comprehensive management program to manage its growth, although it was delivered late, and with a malfunction, which prevented him from detecting that 46% of students had already paid their tuition. , but not the rest of the course, and in spite of that they continued receiving language classes and occupying a place that they did not pay.