Prosecutor orders three years of jail time for Spaniard couple with murky investments in Congolese copper mine

Pontevedra’s prosecution, in northwestern Spain, has accused Enrique Otero Cascallar and María del Mar Barros of investing dirty money in a copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has requested three years of prison and a fine of some $713,790 for the couple.

According to El País newspaper, the prosecution found that the pair invested approximately $1.9 million in shares in Mhyrre Minerals and Metal SPRL, which operates in the Katanga Copperbelt. However, the accused did not reveal where they obtained such amount of money, nor they declared it for tax purposes.

The dealings with the Congolese company took place between 2009 and 2010 when Otero Cascallar and his wife started transferring large amounts of money from Spain to the African country. First, it was some $163,000; then $1.7 million. According to the prosecutor’s deposition, they did such transfers to avoid paying taxes in Spain given the “unknown and murky” origin of their funds.

When the investigation into Otero Cascallar and Barros’ dealings started in 2015, the couple was thought to be linked to entrepreneur Óscar Rial, known as El Pastelero (the pastry chef), whose fortune was thought to be built on drug money which he would launder by engaging figureheads such as this couple. However, the prosecution could not find enough evidence against Rial and it continued trying the duo in a separate legal process.