domingo, 12 de febrero de 2017

THE MASTERMIND ▼ Fraud cases in Spain: Key figures in Spain’s huge Gürtel corruption case get 13-year jail terms | In English | EL PAÍS

Fraud cases in Spain: Key figures in Spain’s huge Gürtel corruption case get 13-year jail terms | In English | EL PAÍS



CORRUPTION

Key figures in Spain’s huge Gürtel corruption case get 13-year jail terms

Francisco Correa, Pablo Crespo and Álvaro Pérez found guilty over role in massive kickbacks scandal




Ignacio Zafra



Three leading figures in the Gürtel case, a major political corruption scheme affecting Spain’s ruling Popular Party (PP), have been sentenced to 13 years in prison each by the Valencia region’s High Court.
Businessman Francisco Correa ran the corrupt business network

Businessman Francisco Correa ran the corrupt business network 



Francisco Correa, considered the mastermind behind the bribes-for-kickbacks network, and his aides Pablo Crespo and Álvaro Pérez, aka El Bigotes (the Mustache), were found guilty in connection with a section of the Gürtel case known as Fitur, involving embezzlement, influence peddling, bribery of public officials and conspiracy in the Valencia region.
Judges have handed down a total of 11 convictions, according to legal sources familiar with the case. Milagrosa Martínez, a former Valencia government official under then-regional premier Francisco Camps, has been sentenced to nine years, while Rafael Betoret, the former head of the tourism department, received a six-year sentence.
The court reached its decision after examining five years’ worth of organizational activities for the Valencia pavilion at Fitur, Spain’s premier tourism fair, and at other events. The government contracts to organize these events were all awarded to Orange Market, a company that was part of the Gürtel network of businesses that paid officials in return for favors.
The sprawling Gürtel case involves a corrupt business network that operated across six Spanish regions between 1999 and 2005. It was allegedly run by Correa (whose surname loosely translates as belt, or Gürtel in German), a businessman who cultivated relationships with PP officials, offering them gifts in exchange for government contracts in public works and event organization. At the height of his power, Correa went by the nickname of Don Vito, after the character in The Godfather.
With nearly 200 official suspects, it became the largest pre-trial probe in modern Spanish history and was broken up into sections to facilitate the investigation. The main trial began on October 4 at the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s high court, with 37 people on the dock.
One of the ramifications of the case involves the possibility of illegal party financing by the PP. Secret accounts kept by former treasurer Luis Bárcenas suggest the existence of a slush fund within the conservative party.
English version by Susana Urra.
Gürtel prosecutor: PP benefited from bribery and embezzlement funds

Gürtel prosecutor: PP benefited from bribery and embezzlement funds

Corruption trial threatening to rock Spain’s Popular Party gets underway

Corruption trial threatening to rock Spain’s Popular Party gets underway

As the case goes to trial, who’s who in the Gürtel investigation

As the case goes to trial, who’s who in the Gürtel investigation

At Gürtel trial, former PP treasurer admits party had secret accounts

At Gürtel trial, former PP treasurer admits party had secret accounts