'Dead' dirty-war spy found alive

15th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

16 November 2004, MADRID-Spanish police have said they are doubtful over claims a millionaire Spanish spy who was thought to have died six years ago was living in Luxembourg under a false name.

16 November 2004

MADRID-Spanish police have said they are doubtful over claims a millionaire Spanish spy who was thought to have died six years ago was living in Luxembourg under a false name.

Francisco Paesa, 68, was wanted for his role in the GAL scandal, in which members of the armed forces and the government conducted a dirty-war against ETA, using death-squads to eliminate members of the terrorist group.

Paesa was also wanted for helping to launder up to EUR 10 million.

His relatives told authorities in 1998, Paesa had died in Bangkok and lodged a death certificate with a Spanish court.

But the Spanish daily El Mundo published photographs and details of Paesa's new life in Luxembourg. 

He was photographed supposedly in the south of France. He is said to have a false name, Francisco Pando, a blonde girlfriend and an Argentine passport. He also changed his age to 54.

Following the revelations, Spanish justice minister Juan Fernando López Aguilar has said Paesa could be extradited to face charges in Spain.

But Spanish police sources said they were doubtful Paesa was alive and well as had been claimed by a detective agency which said it tracked him down.

The agency, based in Barcelona, claimed a creditor who was owed money by Paesa asked them to find the missing spy.

Paesa still faces an international arrest warrant as do two of his cousins.

Paesa's colourful life reads like something out of James Bond novel.

He served as a spy and worked secretly during the 1980s in GAL, the organization of right-wing security officers and government officials who conducted a secret 'dirty war' against ETA, ordering executions without trial against the Basque separatist group.

He was also wanted for fraud in Equatorial Guinea, the former Spanish colony in Africa.

He even worked as a gigolo.

In the 1960s, he was involved in defrauding the national bank in Equatorial Guinea, by convincing the then dictator Francisco Macias he should run the organization.

In fact, he moved to Switzerland, pocketing millions of euros from the fraud. There he also had a much-publicised affair with a famous Japanese TV presenter, Dewi Sukarno.

Justice finally caught up with him and he was jailed for 18 months for fraud. Once out of jail, he started to work for the Spanish secret services.

He worked, as agent 'Paco', selling missiles to ETA. But the arms had tracker devices, which led the security services to uncover the terrorist organisation's funding operation.

Despite this success, Paesa tried to secretly persuade witnesses involved in the GAL scandal not to testify in a court case.

A newspaper exposed his activities and he fled to Switzerland.

Once there, he got a passport from the tiny state of San Tome in order to evade Spanish justice.

In 1994, he helped hide General Luis Roldan, the former head of the Guardia Civil, who stole millions of euros.

Paesa pocketed EUR 10m for hiding Roldan in Laos, then betrayed him to the Spanish authorities for more cash.

Finally, in 1998, he faked his own death in Bangkok and family members lodged an death notice with a Spanish court.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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