The intriguing story of Maria Ernestina Bacardi, a Cuban matriarch whose last testament reveals a web of potential inheritance tax evasion and untraceable assets. Her heirs’ fight over Bacardi Ltd. shares, woven through a labyrinth of trusts (Corniche Trust and Cotorro Trust) and tied to the purported “BASTILLE TRUST”, raises suspicions of hundreds of millions in unpaid taxes. Will Spanish law vindicate her testament? The truth of a legal odyssey will explore this questions and the implications of unregistered assets, and unfold in Madrid’s courtrooms in 2023.
Mrs. María Ernestina Bacardi Gaillard who was born in Cuba in 1899, died in Madrid 1993, married to Luis Adalberto Gómez del Campo y Allard, leaving two children, Mrs. Elena and Lord Luis Bacardi. Mrs. María Ernestina Bacardi Gaillard had granted her last will and testament in Madrid on 20.06.1966 before a Spanish public notary in which she named as her heirs:
of a third part to his daughter Mrs. Elena Bacardi
of half to his son Lord Luis Bacardi and
of the remaining third to her three granddaughters.
Recently, a shocking surprise recently came out from the Spanish Register of Testament.
The existence of a ghostly later testament in the Spanish Register of Testament, which would be executed in Geneva (Switzerland) before another notary, Mr. Jean Rodolphe Christ, dated twelve years after the Spanish Testament, in 1978, is recorded.
Well, this alleged further testament has never existed as certified by early 2023 by the Swiss Authorities.
It was just clumsy attempt at misleading Lord Luis Bacardi and his heirs.
The last testament of Maria Ernestina Bacardi is relevant for various reasons.
Due to the ineffectiveness of any trust under the Spanish laws, the shares in Bacardi Ltd. were inherited directly by Lord Luis Bacardi from her mother, Maria Ernestina Bacardi and therefore, the various passages in the various trusts (Corniche Trust and Lugocamba Trust), through a chain of transactions (decanting operations), up to the purported “BASTILLE TRUST” are fictitious and simulated transactions.
Mrs. María Ernestina Bacardi allocated to the trusts (Corniche Trust and Cotorro Trust) shares in Bacardi Ltd, representing 12 % of its share capital.
However, such an allocation is ineffective and without legal effect under Spanish inheritance law, applicable to the estate of Mrs María Ernestina Bacardi,
This allocation qualifies as a simple fiduciary holding of assets, which means that the assets remain subject to Spanish inheritance law and Spanish inheritance tax, (never been paid), potentially resulting in hundreds of millions in unpaid taxes to Spain.
With regard to the issue about the Spanish Phantom Testament of 1978, to the ineffectiveness of the transfer of the shares in Bacardi Ltd. to the two trusts (Corniche Trust and Cotorro Trust) Lady Monika Bacardi and Maria Luisa Bacardi have commenced an action before a Madrid Court in spring 2023, where the irregularities in Maria Ernestina Bacardi’s estate will be reviewed by an independent judge.