Jose Maria Ruiz-Mateos y Jiménez de Tejada, born on April 11, 1931 and died September 7, 2015.
Mateos was a Spanish businessman, politician, serial fraudster and convicted felon.
He began by exporting wine to England. He founded the conglomerate Rumasa and had a lot of influence in Spanish society.
In 1983, the government of Spain (the Socialist Party was in office at the time and led by Felipe González) expropriated the company.
The government alleged that Rumasa had failed to pay millions of dollars in mandatory taxes to the national treasury.
The government also claimed that Rumasa was in virtual bankruptcy and that it was still afloat thanks solely to imaginative accounting by the auditing department of the company.
Ruiz Mateos disagreed with this assessment. He sued the government for compensation, but has yet to win in court.
He was imprisoned on charges of currency smuggling, fraud and tax evasion.
After several years in jail, he went back into public life, became the owner of the Rayo Vallecano football (soccer) team in 1991, and formed his own political party, as part of which he was elected to the European Parliament in 1989 .
He also founded a new holding company, New Rumasa (16,000 employees).
There have been multiple and various court rulings on the case Rumasa both in Spain and outside Spain, and both the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court have spoken on numerous judgments.
Ruíz Mateos was acquitted in 1999 by the Spanish Supreme Court .
He was a well-known member of Opus Dei, though he was expelled from the group in 1986.
Ruíz Mateos was the father of 13 sons and daughters.
On February 17, 2011, the ten largest companies within the Nueva Rumasa group were declared in default and unable to make payments to their creditors after the Spanish Social Security, Royal Bank of Scotland and others requested that liens be placed on the companies’ assets, nearly twenty-eight years to the day on which his original holding company, Rumasa, was expropriated by the Spanish government.
The Foundation Ruiz-Mateos was created in the year 1978 under the sponsorship of the family Ruiz-Mateos, with a cultural purpose, especially in the field of the plastic arts, music and literature.
This Foundation deliver an annual award called “Villa de Rota” in these three areas.
The Foundation collection of Contemporary Art, is nourished from these contests and from the donations of the exhibitors that make use of their rooms of expositions.
Among other artists, the museums exhibits works by Manuel Benitez Reyes, Wenceslao Robles and Francisco Luque.
The Foundation museum, created in 2005, is located in an old family house dated at 1865.
Jose Maria Ruiz Mateos died on September 7, 2015 at age 84.