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Spain's Iberdrola opens internal investigation into alleged spying

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Iberdrola said on Thursday it had opened a "new and exhaustive" internal investigation after reports in the Spanish media alleged it had hired a former police chief to carry out private investigations.

News websites El Confidencial and alleged that Spain's largest utility had hired Jose Manuel Villarejo's firm, Grupo Cenyt, to investigate figures ranging from politicians and a judge to environmentalists.

Allegations over work carried out by Villarejo have roiled Spain's corporate sector in recent months.

Most prominently the former policeman, currently in prison over allegations of money laundering and bribing public officials, has been linked to BBVA, leading the Spanish high court to place the bank under formal investigation.

Iberdrola said Villarejo had worked alongside security officials from the company between 2004 and 2017, adding that two previous investigations into his work found the contracts and remuneration to be in line with company standards.

"If, as a result of this (new) investigation, it is demonstrated that Iberdrola's control procedures have been overruled, the company will adopt all the necessary measures in accordance with the established procedures," it said in a statement.

(Reporting by Ashifa Kassam and Andres Gonzalez; editing by David Evans)

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