Eight-Year Ordeal of Ana Duato: Risk of 32 Years in Prison and Wikipedia as ‘Evidence’ of Earnings from Cuéntame

The case of the Nummaria Affair series started in 2016, featuring unexpected twists and turns that keep viewers glued to their seats for the next episode. The main characters involuntarily involved in this series are Imanol Arias and Ana Duato, along with the latter’s husband, producer Miguel Ángel Bernardeu, who is responsible for the historic RTVE series. As the trial of the 28 individuals accused of allegedly defrauding the tax authorities began this week, there were two unexpected plot twists. Errors in calculations that benefit Ana and a plea agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office by Imanol. Surprising and previously unknown data have also emerged, such as the fact that the judicial appraisal to determine the actress’s alleged earnings in certain years from Cuéntame – the subject of the criminal case where Ana Duato faces 32 years in prison – was not based on official RTVE data. Not even from the tax authorities, despite the alleged tax offenses being judged.

The judicial appraisal relied on a copy-paste from Wikipedia, a rough estimate that undermines the solidity of the accusations and could help put an end, according to all sources consulted, to the actress’s legal ordeal. Ana Duato cannot be asked to ‘tell me’ now, immersed in the criminal process; she has only stated in recent hours that she trusts in justice. EL ESPAÑOL | Portfolio has spoken with very close sources to the actress’s family circle and legal sources linked to the case, all of high credibility.

Since 2016, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office has alleged that Ana Duato, as a client of a law firm that handled her accounts, Nummaria, allegedly committed tax fraud in 7 fiscal years from 2010 to 2017, totaling 1.9 million euros. However, in 2020, the actress’s lawyer submitted a document from the Regional Tax Court of Madrid (TEAR, attached to the tax authorities), certifying that Duato had indeed administratively resolved the tax errors for the years 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Legal sources close to the case emphasize that from the beginning, “neither Ana nor Miguel Ángel were aware of the irregularities committed by Nummaria. They are not tax experts. It’s like a doctor telling you to get an MRI. You go and get it done.” The actress paid 970,300 euros to correct the differences that the tax authorities deemed she owed to be up-to-date. Once the amount was paid, “the sanction was purely administrative, it was appealed, and the Court ruled in her favor,” details a legal source, adding that they have to refund the amount paid plus interest. However, the Nummaria Affair investigation unearthed what was considered closed, concluding that there were indications of criminal activity between 2010 and 2012, extending it to the fiscal years from 2014 to 2017.

This week, two reports requested by the Prosecutor’s Office have dealt a severe blow to the prosecution. The first report issued by the Tax Agency details that to calculate the allegedly defrauded amount in income tax, the amount already paid by Miguel Ángel Bernardeu through corporate tax must be deducted.

The second report has given a new perspective to the case, focusing on the actress’s last 4 fiscal years from 2014 to 2017. Also prepared by the Tax Agency at the request of the anticorruption prosecutor Tomás Herranz, it certifies that Duato did not reach the minimum threshold of 120,000 euros of defrauding to the tax authorities between 2014 and 2017. It would not be punishable by criminal law but would be a rectifiable irregularity through administrative means.

The document confirms what the actress’s lawyers have been arguing from the start. The Public Prosecutor miscalculated the amount she earned per episode, initially estimated at over 63,000 euros. How was the calculation made? With Wikipedia, as part of documentation accessed by EL ESPAÑOL | Portfolio.

In reality, the actress “did not earn the same amount per episode or per season. They looked at Wikipedia and multiplied. They did not bother to request the contracts from RTVE, which has double control and official data. They did not inquire if the broadcast coincided with the tax liability accrual, as it is not the same when the episode airs as when it is filmed,” legal sources close to the case explain.

The new report from the Tax Agency states that Ana Duato earned 33,767 euros per episode from 2014 onwards. Her participation in 85 episodes between 2013 and 2017 was considered. “Many episodes that aired did not earn, especially the specials.” In the accusation, they included and calculated all episodes at 63,000 euros. The Tax Agency has already stated that there is no offense, but the prosecutor is adamant,” legal sources explain.

However, the prosecutor has opposed Ana Duato and her husband Miguel Ángel Bernardeau’s lawyers’ request to dismiss the trial. He has maintained his accusations of tax offenses.

Ana Duato and her husband, the series producer Miguel Ángel Bernardeu, have refused to settle with the Prosecutor’s Office before the trial, facing a request for 32 years in prison. “The easy way would have been to sign with the Prosecutor’s Office, but it would have meant acknowledging a lie they did not commit,” sources from their family circle point out. “You don’t go this far if you don’t have the truth,” they stress. The actress and her husband have full confidence in their lawyers, “who are very good, defending them with facts and documentation.”

“These years have been very tough for the family. They have faced them with determination and spirit, which is only done when you are convinced of your innocence. Ana always says that the truth carries a lot of weight. She decided to fight for the truth because she believes that the truth holds a lot of power.” The same sources also highlight that “honor is also important” to her: honor as a moral and ethical value “that she has instilled in her two children. The legacy,” they emphasize.

The actress faced the start date of the trial with a desire “to clarify the situation as soon as possible, for the lawyers, with papers, to present the facts… and put an end to the media sentence, with all the implications for image, family… it has been 8 tough years,” they reiterate.

However, they point out that “thank goodness we live in a state of law,” because “a taxpayer is exposed to a prosecutor who can accuse you of anything. And doing so through criminal proceedings is very harsh, even knowing with documents what is already known and still insisting on 32 years in prison.” In these years, the prosecutor “has blown up the lives of two people, both personally and professionally. Because Ana has missed out on many jobs that have fallen by the wayside.”

Regarding the support the actress has received from other colleagues in the profession, the sources consulted emphasize that Ana Duato has relied primarily on the steadfastness of her close circle. In the artistic community, “the Tax Agency is like the Inquisition: it is very frightening. Even to express an opinion, because they fear that saying something might affect them. Fortunately, people are learning to read the news and not just stick to the headlines about what lies behind the Tax Agency.”

Ana Duato’s strategy has been radically different from that chosen by her series co-star, Imanol Arias. Along with thirty other individuals, the actor accepted what the Prosecutor’s Office offered him and pleaded guilty to five tax offenses, accepting a sentence of less than two years to avoid imprisonment. He was facing 27 years in prison.

Regarding Imanol Arias’s plea deal, Ana Duato’s circle emphasizes that “she deeply respects his decision and his circumstances. Ana understands them perfectly. Imanol is her great friend, her colleague, and is very dear to her.”

Legal sources linked to the case stress that “his circumstances and motivations are special. By agreeing, he left his sister out. Resisting that is very difficult. These cases are not won by points. Either you win or you don’t. From 27 years to 2 years… the fear is very personal. You have to put yourself in his shoes. And no lawyer ever guarantees you a hundred percent the result of a trial.”

The actress’s circle is firm. Until September, when the trial is expected to end, there will be moments “to maintain a lot of steadfastness, to be alert and maintain hope. And not give up.”