The PP suffers yet another setback as a result of the Gürtel case, according to the National Court. The Criminal Chamber has sentenced the party for the third time for its role in the plot led by Francisco Correa, who nested within the formation for years. In this case, because of the network’s dirty business in the municipality of Boadilla del Monte (Madrid).
As stated in the sentence, to which EL PAS agreed, the magistrates confirm the Prosecutor’s Office’s thesis and sentence the popular to pay 204,198.64 euros as profit participants. The court concludes that bribes were used to “pay for events” of the political force now led by Alberto Nez Feijóo and that his charges created a corrupt “dynamic of mutual benefit” with Correa’s companies in order for him to “perpetuate” his position.
During the investigation, the investigators already concluded — and this was confirmed in the trial by up to 17 defendants who confessed to the facts — that Gürtel got a job at the Boadilla City Hall because of Correa’s connections with PP leaders. In this way, once they had gained control of the Administration through their influence, they manipulated public contracts and granted awards in exchange for bribes, which ended up paying for conservative party electoral acts. According to Arturo González Panero, former mayor of the town known as El Albonguilla, the formation’s national and regional leaders were aware of the irregular functioning.
This dynamic occurred in Boadilla “from 2001 until 2009, when it was controlled by the PP,” the National Court judges now emphasize in an April 5 ruling. “Correa personally negotiated the award of public contracts, in violation of the rules governing public contracting, so that they were awarded to the companies chosen by the group in exchange for the payment of a commission, or for their own companies, remunerating the public of the position, with competence or capacity to influence contracts,” the magistrates emphasize.
In this vein, the main investigator of the corrupt network, Chief Inspector Manuel Morocho, influenced the trial: “Correa became the executor and channeler of funds, whatever their origin, that the party made available to him in order to finance those acts.”
The list of those who have been sentenced is lengthy. The Court rules against Correa, who is currently incarcerated and has been sentenced to 13 years and 6 months in prison for bribery, fraud, and influence peddling, among other offenses. Also, against Pablo Crespo, his number two and former Secretary of Organization of the Galician PP (13 years and 6 months); Arturo González Panero, former mayor of Boadilla (36 years and 11 months); José Luis Izquierdo, accountant for the corrupt network (1 year and 6 months); José Ramón Blanco Baln, tax advisor for the plot (2 years and 9 months); and the builders José Luis Martnez Parra (2 years), Alfonso (1 year and 4 months), former partner of Alejandro Agag (son-in-law of former Prime Minister José Maria Aznar); César Tomás Martin Morales, former manager of the Municipal Land and Housing Company (7 years and 3 months); and former popular deputy Alfonso Bosch, alias El Neveras, who took over as head of the Boadilla land company from Martin Morales (4 years and 4 months).
Rafael Martnez Molinero, Antonio de Miguel Reyes, Elizabeth Jordan, Jose Javier Nombela, Luis de Miguel Pérez, who admitted in court that he “designed the entire corporate structure” of the corrupt network, Xavier of the Valley, Carlos Jorge Martinez Massa, Rodolfo Benigno Ruiz, Juan Jesus Siguero, Juan Carlos King, and Gonzalo Naranjo are the others convicted. The court acquitted Mara del Carmen Garcia Moreno, whose accusation was withdrawn at the start of the oral hearing, and Francisco Pastor de Luz, a former PP councilor in Boadilla del Monte and former manager of the Board of Culture, for not having sufficient accreditation of his intervention in the plot. During the trial, this former mayor became emotional and, between tears, defended his honesty. “I have held those positions honestly. Furthermore, I am proud to have been a member of the Popular Party. Let’s be clear about this.”
This is the PP’s third conviction in the Gürtel case. He had already been sentenced to pay 369,111.8 euros in the previous two cases for benefiting from the plot. The first resolution was issued in 2018 when the Court ruled against the popular ones for their involvement in the corrupt network’s businesses: it was for the trial of the line of an investigation dubbed Época I, which resulted in the subsequent motion of censure of the PSOE that brought Mariano Rajoy’s government to an end. The second conviction came last year when the court determined that the PP had paid in cash for the construction of its headquarters on Génova Street in Madrid.