16th November 2011: Galician shipowner condemned for fraud

The Provincial Court of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria condemned the shipowner Manuel Antonio Vidal Pego, from Ribeira (A Coruña) for having committed fraud.

The sentence states that the fraudster will be in prison for a year and eight months and will have to pay a daily fine of EUR 15 for eight months.

In addition, the company shall indemnify Coast Line firm with USD 2.74 million plus 10 per cent of that amount in lost profits.

“Manuel Antonio concealed that the ship Hammer, which captured the fish for sale, had been sighted by Australian authorities while fishing in the Convention Area for the conservation of living marine resources of Antarctica, from the body representative of Coast Line,” reads the sentence.

It adds: “Having the belief that the delivery of the goods agreed on with Coast Line would certainly be impossible, Vidal Pego concealed this information from Luis Suárez, a representative of Coast Line, during the trade transaction and, with the intention of obtaining an economic benefit, the shipowner decided to require the payment of the remaining price up to this last date,” the agency Europa Press reported.

Vidal Pego has already had a history of illegal fishing: in 2003 he was condemned internationally for developing that activity on board the vessel Viarsa.

In November 2009, PSdeG required Xunta de Galicia explanations for granting EUR 3.9 million as public aid to the company Biomega Nutrición, owned by the businessperson.

The money granted to the firm was designed to build a factory to produce omega-3 fatty acids from fish liver oil.

In April 2010, the conservation organization Oceana accused the Galician government of subsidising that company, which is “closely linked” to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, with EUR 4.02 million.

By Analia Murias