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SGAE sticks with arrested chief, but new commission will take over duties

Copyright body seeks "external and independent" president to recover image tarnished by ongoing fraud investigation

The board of directors of the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE), Spain's main copyright-management body, has decided it will be run by a "governing commission" of five members and an outside president following the arrest of the head of the organization, Eduardo "Teddy" Bautista, and other directors on fraud charges last Friday.

Bautista's own position in the organization remains in limbo. "He remains at the disposition of the governing board," said singer Víctor Manuel, who appeared before the press alongside fellow current board members Caco Senante, musician Sabino Méndez and playwright Ernesto Caballero to make the announcement. In other words, Bautista has been moved aside, but the organization did not want to make his exit explicit.

Both the current and the board-elect- voted in to continue Bautista's regime after elections on June 30- said the new commission would be made up of four authors and one music publisher, while four names, all connected to the Popular Party, were under consideration for the post of "an external and independent president of recognized prestige."

In this way the SGAE board hopes to limit the damage to the organization after High Court Judge Pablo Ruz on Monday decided to send José Luis Rodríguez Neri, the director general of SGAE's digital arm, the Sociedad Digital de Editores y Autores, to prison. Neri is believed to be the alleged ringleader of a multi-million-euro siphoning of funds from the organization via companies offering fictitious services.