Sunday, January 29

Francisco Camps tries to resurrect from a past of corruption | Spain

Former regional president Francisco Camps and his successor Alberto Fabra, at the PP convention on October 2, in Valencia.
Former regional president Francisco Camps and his successor Alberto Fabra, at the PP convention on October 2, in Valencia.Monica Torres

In the eleventh year after his resignation, Francisco Camps tries to resurrect. The former president of the Generalitat Valenciana and former leader of the regional PP has intensified his campaign in recent weeks to try to return to the political front line and hold office. Without the support of the party leadership in the community and with a pending trial in the National High Court, the former head of the regional government tries to wash his image with interviews and public appearances, where he presents himself as a victim of “persecution” and tiptoes past by the trail of sentences that already take for granted the corruption that nested in the highest spheres of the Administration and the training that he headed.

“There is a political strategy behind the persecution of Francisco Camps and it is that the left is aware that, if Camps is imputed, the left will leave the presidency of the Generalitat. They are communicating vessels, “the former president said of himself in November after filing a case against him for an endorsement granted to the company of the great urban Formula 1 prizes that were held in Valencia between 2008 and 2012.” There has never been any Nothing concrete [contra mí] and in criminal law, the prosecution test that determines the relationship between the person and the fact that is being pursued is essential. And in my causes there is none because it has never existed ”, he added.

Despite the fact that no leader of the Valencian PP supports him, Camps continues in his idea of ​​looking for a hole in the lists: “If I am not a candidate for the PP in Valencia I would like to be a parliamentarian again,” he offered in an interview in Abc. But in front of it he has come across answers as resounding as that of the president of the popular in the city, María José Catalá, who assured that “it is impossible” for him to occupy a position in the municipal candidacy. The national leadership of the formation supports Catalá, who also holds the position of general secretary of the autonomic PP, reports Elsa García de Blas. “The candidate is María José Catala”, emphasize those same sources.

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The National Court is currently prosecuting Camps, who must sit on the bench for crimes of prevarication, fraud against public administrations and influence peddling. The investigating judge José de la Mata has already concluded that the former president maneuvered to irregularly award a contract in 2009 to the companies of the Gürtel plot and thus favor the corrupt network led by Francisco Correa, “as he had been doing since 2005.” And, therefore, the Prosecutor’s Office asks that he be sentenced to two and a half years in prison in an oral hearing that is pending date and in which three of his exconsellers.

However, the former president of the Generalitat does not give up in his fight to return to the front line and shows no signs of wanting to wait for the National Court to judge him and pass sentence. This was demonstrated in the last great conclave that the party held in Valencia, in the bullring, with the national president Pablo Casado as the main actor. At first, Camps was not even invited to the event – although he could have attended as another member – but he asked to officially attend as a public ex-official and the party could not refuse, keeping him a prominent place. “My party of all life, the PP, returns home,” he evoked then.

Both he and the former mayor of Valencia, Rita Barberá, occupy similar positions in the judicial panorama. Their teams and everything that was done around them are the subject of a bench, but they have not received any sentence against them at the moment – the ex-mayor died when she was charged. Of course, the references to both by the current leaders of the PP are very different. The popular not only defend the innocence of Barberá, but also vindicate his figure and the current regional president of the PP, Carlos Mazón, spares no words of praise for her. For Camps, the allusions are more timid. “It has been extraordinarily unfair with Camps,” Mazón adjusts this Saturday in an interview in EL PAÍS. Mariano Rajoy also came to his defense a few days ago: “Camps has never been convicted.”

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From the left, Mariano Rajoy, Rita Barberá and Francisco Camps, on the balcony of the Valencia City Council in June 2009.
From the left, Mariano Rajoy, Rita Barberá and Francisco Camps, on the balcony of the Valencia City Council in June 2009.CARLES FRANCESC

The damned

The balance of justice on the Camps stage is not so benevolent. In addition to keeping the former president on trial, the courts have already convicted a large part of his team of corruption. Among others, the magistrates have sentenced their secretary general, Ricardo Costa; his vice president Víctor Campos —another of his vice presidents, Juan Cotino, died in the middle of the trial against him—; its regional manager, Cristina Ibáñez; his secretary general of the parliamentary group, David Serra; its treasurer, Yolanda García; to his counselor and president of the Autonomous Chamber, Milagrosa Martínez; to its counselor Rafael Blasco; and its director of Radio Televisión Valenciana, Pedro García Gimeno.

The court rulings mark an era of corruption. All the quotation marks that follow are facts “proven” by justice. With the arrival of Camps to power, Gürtel centers its activity in Valencia, where it “manipulates” public contracts in “collusion with the Generalitat staff.” Correa’s network, “in order to win friendship, the best treatment and the favor of officials and authorities with important responsibilities in high institutions and organizations of the Community, they would continually send them gifts, such as tailor-made suits. and other garments ”. Although the gifts were credited to Víctor Campos and Milagrosa Martínez, among others, Camps was acquitted of the suits case by a divided popular jury – by five votes to four.

The Camps PP was also financed “irregularly” with the “purpose of obtaining greater deployment” in the 2007 and 2008 campaigns – the then Valencian president attended the first: “They contracted services to [las empresas de Correa], who paid irregularly, partly in cash and partly through third parties […] Such payments were not reflected in billing or accounting ”.

Despite the coldness with which the Valencian PP treats Camps, he does not give up. “I am sure that if the PP sees that there is more support, I will be a candidate,” was another of the former president’s offers.

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The former leader of the regional PP revolts against the court

Francisco Camps has gone on to attack in the case that is still pending in the National Court. The defense of the former Valencian president, who is facing a request from the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office for two and a half years in prison for crimes of fraud and prevarication, presented a brief on November 29 to try to modify the composition of the court that will prosecute him. The former leader of the PP wants José Ricardo de Prada to leave the list of magistrates chosen for the oral hearing, which is still pending date. The popular have been attacking this judge for years.

Camps spreads a “suspicion and fear of partisan contamination” over De Prada due to his “notorious closeness and relationship with the PSOE and United We Can” —exposes as an argument that both parties proposed him to occupy a position as a member of the General Council of the Judiciary— and for his “obvious animosity” against the PP. De Prada was part of the court that tried the main plot of the Gürtel case, known as Epoch I, which ended the first sentence handed down against the popular for benefiting from the corrupt network and which promoted the motion of censure of the socialist Pedro Sánchez who evicted Mariano Rajoy from La Moncloa. Since then, the conservative formation has maintained an intense campaign against this progressive court magistrate.

In fact, the PP managed to remove De Prada from the court that prosecuted the party in 2021 for its box by for the reform of the Genoa headquarters with black money. The Criminal Chamber accepted the challenge of the magistrate by the minimum – eight members voted in favor and seven against -, but the departure of the judge did not prevent the popular ones from being sentenced for the second time. The Chamber refused, on the other hand, to remove De Prada from the list that is currently judging Gürtel’s businesses in Boadilla del Monte (Madrid), an oral hearing where the PP sits for the third time on the defendant’s bench.

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