Friday, May 27

Ripoll on the Zonal plan: “No one asked me for a favor to commit an illegality”


Impeccable, armed with a leather briefcase and with the same outfit with which he would have gone to the Diputación or the Generalitat, at the stage in which he presided over the first or was vice president of the second, José Joaquín Ripoll appeared this Tuesday before the court that is judging for alleged illegalities in the processing of the Vega Baja waste plan to deny everything.

«They did not offer me a gift, compensation or gift in relation to this project» – «Except for the final solution, all decisions were unanimous»

José Joaquín Ripoll – Former PP politician and defendant


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The former PP politician spoke only to questions from his defense, lawyer Bernardo de Rosal, who has just filed an appeal against the court’s decision to dismiss as time-barred the challenge of two of the three members of the room that he had raised in the first days of this year. He did so arguing that they are contaminated for having intervened in the process back in 2016. A resource that will probably suffer the same fate as the first but that, in any case, does not paralyze the development of a hearing that resumed this Tuesday after the phase of previous issues with the statements of businessmen Enrique Ortiz and Rafael Gregory, in addition to that of Ripoll.

Ángel Fenoll and his son have taken advantage of their right not to do so after, like their previous teammates on the bench, pleading not guilty.

«My possibility of influence in the consortium was only 15%, which was the percentage that the Diputación had in the body. The municipalities had 60% and the Generalitat, 25%. I just wanted to get consensus”

José Joaquín Ripoll – Former PP politician and defendant


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For this Wednesday’s session, it remains to hear the seven remaining defendants for whom the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office requests sentences ranging from three to 17 years in prison for the crimes of bribery, disclosure of privileged information, influence peddling, prevarication, fraud and negotiations prohibited to officials. The public accusation maintains that Ripoll took advantage of his position to benefit Ortiz and Fenoll in the installation of the garbage plant against the general interest and in exchange for perks that would range from the offer of two floors to cash and trips.

“We had no obligation, but all decisions were made as dictated by the technical commission, whose criteria we followed to the letter”

José Joaquín Ripoll – Former PP politician and defendant


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Following the dictation of the pages in front of him, to the point that he provoked a complaint from the anti-corruption prosecutor Pablo Romero, Ripoll asserted that no one asked him for any favor to commit an illegality, that he was not offered any consideration, gift or gift in relation to the installation of this waste plant in a certain place and that its function was to seek consensus “because my possibility of influence was 15%, the percentage that the Diputación had in the Vega Baja waste consortium where the 27 municipalities those affected held 60% and the Generalitat, the remaining 25%, ”he specified.

«The consortium had its own legal entity, it did not depend on the Provincial Council, but I was appointed president of the board and of the commission»

José Joaquín Ripoll – Former PP politician and defendant


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After descending to the smallest detail in an explanation about the composition and operation of the consortium, which made the president of the room have to indicate that such precision was not necessary, the former provincial president of the PP insisted that all the decisions obeyed to technical reasons and that, except for the last one, all were approved unanimously.

«I never dispatched with any technician. I couldn’t even share whether or not I agreed with their decisions» – «The only paralysis that the project suffered was due to the elections, in case the color of the members of the consortium changed»

José Joaquín Ripoll – Former PP politician and defendant


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Ortiz responds to all

Much more relaxed than in other appearances before a court, and he has already had a few, declared businessman Enrique Ortiz, the only one of the five defendants in Tuesday’s session who responded to all parties. And without taking the notes he had prepared out of his pocket.

«I never asked Rafael Gregory to pressure Ripoll to favor me in the Zonal plan» – «I met with the president of the Diputación as a public agent and as the successful bidder»

Enrique Ortiz – Businessman and defendant


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In a testimonial that at times resembled a dialogue between him and the prosecutor Pablo Romero than a typical interrogation, the promoter also denied any illegality in a business, that of the installation of the macro dump, which had been awarded to him in December 2008 but whose definitive location complicated it to the point that it still does not exist today.

«I have never asked Mr. Ripoll for anything, except that he pay me when he owed us some of the work we did for the Provincial Council» – «I don’t remember Ripoll telling me to hire a person»

Enrique Ortiz – Businessman and defendant


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In his account before the room, the businessman puffed up his chest when he said that the offer presented by the joint venture that he had with Cespa for this project was the best, but he was less credible when he explained why he tried to acquire land in Torremendo, where Fenoll owned a farm, when another option, that of Albatera, had been the most valued.

«I did not directly invite Ripoll and his wife to my yacht in Palma. I invited Gregory and his family and they came with them (…) And of course they didn’t pay anything, they came to my house»

Enrique Ortiz – Businessman and defendant


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The prosecutor maintains that Ripoll pressured Ortiz to buy a farm from Fenoll (which the businessman, related to the PP, had acquired for around 600,000 euros but for which he came to ask for up to 10 million) to compensate him for having stayed out of the business of waste management in the area.

«They never forced me to buy the farm from Fenoll. We thought about it when they didn’t sell us the one we wanted»

Enrique Ortiz – Businessman and defendant


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To the specific and direct question of the prosecutor, Ortiz assured that he was never forced to buy anything from Fenoll and that he raised it when they refused to sell him some adjoining land known as the Lo Cartagena farm for the installation of the plant. “I did not agree anything with anyone,” he asserted.

«I didn’t just invite Ripoll and his wife to my ship in Seville. I invited them and 60 other people. I was not looking for an approach to the president of the Diputación so that he changed the location of the plant»

Enrique Ortiz – Businessman and defendant


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Regarding the alleged perks to Ripoll, specifically that of an invitation to his yacht for the April Fair, Ortiz explained that he went every year and that he invited “the president of the Provincial Council and his wife and 60 other people . There we coincided in the booth of a businessman from Alicante where half of Alicante was. He did not intend an approach to Ripoll so that the location of the plant would be modified, “he replied to the prosecutor.

«Ángel Fenoll was one of the best clients we had. I rented vehicles for garbage collection from Autisa, my company»

Rafael Gregory – Businessman and defendant


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The days that the Ripoll couple spent on Ortiz’s boat also came up, although on that occasion in Palma de Mallorca. «My wife is a friend of Gregory’s wife and she told me to invite them without knowing that they were in Ibiza with the Ripolls. They came and stayed a few days. It was a spontaneous plan. “Did they pay anything?” asked the public prosecutor. “They didn’t pay anything because they came to my house,” he said. And when the former president of the Port of Alicante enjoyed the businessman’s boat, he explained that he left it to Gregory, “as he did many times”, that he knew that Ripoll was going to go, but that he was not looking for anything with it.

Nor did Ortiz give importance to the occasions in which the investigators detected that the promoter shared a table and tablecloth with the then president of the Provincial Council in a restaurant in the city. “I ate there every day because it was close to my office. And with Ripoll I did it because of my status as a public agent and as a successful bidder, “he specified.

“Enrique Ortiz and I have been friends since we were little, our wives are friends and I also supplied him with vehicles” – “The relationship with the Diputación came through the Hércules Foundation, of which I was vice president for a time”

Rafael Gregory – Businessman and defendant


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Directed by his defense, Ortiz influenced his relationship with the Diputación through the Hércules Foundation and the works he did for the provincial body, he assured that Ripoll had never asked him for anything “except that he pay us for the work we did », and asserted that he never urged Gregory to pressure Ripoll to favor him in the Zonal plan.

Gregory replied only to his lawyer that Fenoll was one of his best clients, that he and Ortiz have been friends since childhood, that he supplied both trucks for his company, Autisa, and that his relationship with the Diputación also came through the Fundación Hercules.

Controversy over the reading of the statements of those who take advantage of their right not to do so

The decision of the Orihuela businessman Ángel Fenoll to take advantage of his right not to testify (which was later followed by his son) caused a storm in the room when the prosecutor Pablo Romero proposed that, in his place, at that time the the sight to the declarations that were lent during the investigation of the Brugal case, from where the piece of the Zonal plan emanates.

The proposal was rejected in a cascade by all the defenses, for whom what the prosecutor claimed was inadmissible and violated the rights of the accused.

After taking a few minutes to deliberate, the court agreed to the accuser’s approach, albeit only in part. The testimonies can be read in the room but at the moment of the documentary, when practically all the evidence has already been practiced, and not all of them but only those who lent themselves in this case as a result of breaking away from the main one.


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