The Supreme Court ruling (TS) issued this week by the Gürtel case is only one of the fifteen pieces opened as a result of the investigation by the largest corruption plot in Spain, linked to Popular Party. Since the scandal broke out in 2009, the High Court has confirmed two sentences; there are another three issued by the National Court pending the appeal; Another of the pieces is awaiting sentence, and there are still six pending trials. And to this is added the new investigation into an attempt to steal documents from Luis Barcenas, known as operation Kitchen. In total there are 13 pieces that fully affect the PP. And this without counting other contemporary or contemporary causes of corruption such as the Punic case Y Lezo case, both for the corruption Madrilenian linked to this same party, or the Erial case, which affects the former Valencian president Eduardo Zaplana, in addition to several sentences to the former president of the Balearic Islands Jaume Matas.
What differentiated the piece just sentenced by the Supreme Court from the rest of Gürtel is one of his defendants. This is Bárcenas, who for decades had managed the party’s funds. When Judge Baltasar Garzón began the investigation together with the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit of the Police (UDEF) and the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, they did not know the scope of the plot. A mayor of a Madrid town, Jose Luis Peñas, had recorded, between December 2005 and May 2007, the businessman Francisco Correa and others of his acolytes.
That Majadahonda councilor had been part of that group until he decided to report it in November 2007. But before that, he recorded all the conversations with a device on his jacket for a year and a half. Correa confessed how he paid mayors in exchange for awards, recounted his relationships with the highest representatives of Madrid and Valencia, both of the PP, and bragged about how he was received as one more at the party’s headquarters on Genova Street. In one of the last recordings, Correa said: “I have brought Bárcenas more than 1,000 million pesetas”.
After that, he went to the police and handed over all the accumulated tapes. Thirteen years later, the Supreme Court has made him pay for having been part of that plot. Four years and nine months in prison that he will have to serve if he cannot be pardoned because, without that complaint, the illegal funding established in one of the main Spanish parties would probably not have been uncovered today. As the TS says, “an authentic and effective system of corruption through influential PP militants.”
When the case exploded in February 2009 it was impossible to know the scope of the investigation. In fact, the main defendants managed to sit Garzón in the dock for ordering to intervene in conversations with their lawyers from jail, violating their right of defense. Garzón was condemned by the TS and disqualified. The matter fell into the hands of several judges until it reached the head of the central investigating court number 5 of the National Court, Pablo Ruz, who gave a boost to the cause. Rajoy, who already presided over the PP after Aznar’s departure in 2004, came to believe that the matter was amortized, until in January 2013 Switzerland gave the bell by sending Ruz the accounts that the PP treasurer hid in his country . He had accumulated 48 million euros.
The PP could not continue to protect Bárcenas, it threw him out of the party and the consequences soon came with the leakage of the entire PP box B, the notes of how the party had been nourished by donations from businessmen without declaring to the Court of Accounts and how various leaders of the formation had received bonuses. From there came a new investigation, the piece known as the Bárcenas papers, a trial that will start in February and will put black on white all the finances of the party that Pablo Casado now leads. A new investigation has even been opened due to new suspicions that businessmen paid the PP in exchange for awards and that is currently instructed by the judge of the Hearing José de la Mata.
But in addition, it has just been discovered that the Rajoy government organized a “parapolicial” operation to steal all that documentation from Bárcenas, when he had already become a traitor. It is known as Operation Kitchen, which is in the investigation phase. It is being investigated whether ex-commissioner José Manuel Villarejo, among others, was charged with capturing the driver of Bárcenas to steal sensitive documentation and even pay a common criminal so that, disguised as a priest, he would assault the home. And all this supposedly paid for with reserved funds.
Gürtel uncovered corruption in Madrid, but also in Valencia. The investigation revealed the links of the plot with the then president Francisco Camps, as well as with several Madrid advisers of Esperanza Aguirre. Of the Valencian plot, the Supreme Court has already confirmed a conviction for the fixes at the Fitur tourism fair, and the National Court has already condemned the Valencian branch for electoral crimes in the municipal elections of 2007 and the general elections of 2008.
Justice certified that the Valencian PP, with Ricardo Costa as secretary general, benefited from Correa’s network. But in addition, it is pending that the National Court dictates the sentence for the piece in which the alleged irregular award of a contract of more than seven million euros for an assembly of screens and sound for the Pope’s visit to Valencia in the 2006. And to this is added that Camps, who managed to be acquitted seven years ago for receiving suits from Correa’s group, is awaiting a new trial, for which he faces two and a half years in prison, for favoring a The entrepreneur’s company, Orange Market, in 2009.
The National Court has also condemned the plot for receiving rigged contracts from Aena between 2000 and 2002 and in another for achieving the award of three contracts by the Jerez City Council for Fitur 2004. In addition, the main piece is pending trial of the Gürtel case, known as Epoch II, in addition to the piece for illicit acts in the Madrid City Council of Boadilla del Monte, at the time of Arturo González Panero as mayor, and a last one for similar events in Madrid’s Arganda del Rey. For all this, Correa has accumulated 79 years in prison, although he could soon rise to 115 years without having pending trials.