The Attorney General of the State, Dolores Delgado, summoned in December 2021 to her office in Madrid’s Calle de Fortuny the Superior Prosecutor of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM), Jesus Knight Klink, to address the situation of the investigative proceedings on the alleged disclosure of secrets by the prosecutor in charge of the ‘Tándem-Villarejo case’, Ignacio Press. The meeting took place as a result of the refusal of the prosecutor in charge of these proceedings, Carlos Ruiz de Alegria, to continue doing research that he considered useless.
Until now, Delgado informed the Tax Council, on November 24, which remained outside the management of these proceedings and which were carried out by the chief prosecutor of its technical secretariat, Alvaro Garcia, who, in turn, explained that Delgado was not aware of the “reserved” suggestions-instructions that he had sent to the TSJM prosecutor’s office, which, precisely, were intended to lengthen the proceedings.
The extension of these proceedings had two phases. A first until October 27, 2020, the date on which the Tax Council, an advisory body to the State Attorney General’s Office, was to award eight permanent positions to aspiring prosecutors –among whom was Stampa– to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.
Prosecutor Ruiz de Alegría proposed, after completing his investigation, to file the proceedings on October 5, 2020 upon finding that the alleged revelation of secrets by Stampa to one of the popular accusations — that of United We Can in the ‘Tandem-Villarejo case’–. The chief prosecutor of the technical secretariat, García, “suggested” new proceedings. Ruiz de Alegría did the diligence and again concluded that it should be filed on October 23, 2020.
But it was a matter of keeping the proceedings open, according to what prosecutor Ruiz de Alegría told EL PERIÓDICO, a newspaper that belongs to this group, Prensa Ibérica, so that the Tax Council will not take note of the file. “The purpose of all this was to delay the conclusion of the proceedings so that they would be alive at the time the competition for the eight places in the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office”.
On October 27, 2020, Delgado obtained the support of his own association, the Progressive Union of Prosecutors (UPF), and the conservative Prosecutors Association, of which Stampa was a member, to the list of eight prosecutors who were awarded the fixed position. With more than four years of service instructing the ‘Tándem-Villarejo case’, after investigating cases of corruption in Lanzarote, the prosecutor Stampa was removed from the investigation by way of denying him the position to which he aspired.
The second phase of artificial prolongation of proceedings It took place after October 27, 2020 with the aim of covering up, according to judicial sources, that they had only been extended punctually until the meeting of the Fiscal Council on October 27, and to show that they were projected beyond its celebration.
The State Attorney General, contrary to what she would report a year later, on November 24, 2021, as a result of the “Reopening” of the ‘Press case’ in the Fiscal Council, he was aware of the “suggestions-instructions” that were sent from Fortuny to Plaza de las Salesas, headquarters of the TSJM prosecutor’s office.
It was she herself who publicly announced to the newspaper ‘El País’ on November 1, 2020 the continuation of the investigations. “The proceedings opened against Mr. Stampa remain in force until the investigation is exhausted, which could be pending new actions.”
It so happens that those “new performances” They had not yet been requested by the chief prosecutor of the technical secretariat, García, to the instructor of the proceedings, prosecutor Ruiz de Alegría. These “new actions” would still take a month to be “suggested”. On December 2, 2020, García sent them to the prosecutor Ruiz de Alegría, who flatly rejected the “suggestions”. “I told my superior, Caballero Klink, and in writing I refused to do them. They were useless,” the prosecutor told EL PERIÓDICO in the aforementioned interview. This rejection occurred on December 9, 2020.
Knight Klink was forced to order him to execute the “suggestions-instructions” de García (article 27 of the Organic Statute of the Public Prosecutor, EOMF), which would allow Ruiz de Alegría to raise the issue before the Board of Prosecution, which would resolve the conflict. But Caballero Klink considered that he should directly assume the proceedings by summoning them to himself, that is, he decided to replace Ruiz de Alegría.
The problem raised was that article 23 of the EOMF requires that the “replacement will be communicated to the Fiscal Council, which may express its opinion”. To avoid this communication, the State Attorney General summoned Caballero Klink in December 2020 to a meeting in his office. Reliable sources indicate that the then Chief Prosecutor of the Inspection participated in it, Faust Cartagena, and the chief prosecutor of the technical secretariat, García.
The position conveyed by Delgado consisted of interpreting, according to an instruction from the FGE itself, that all investigation proceedings are proceedings of the chief prosecutor –in this case, of Caballero Klink– who usually delegates their processing to his subordinate prosecutors. The presence of the chief prosecutor of the Inspection, Cartagena, responded, according to the judicial sources consulted, to the need to give “legal solvency to that interpretation.
Knight Klink, however, went ahead with his appointment on December 15, 2020. However, the matter of the avocation of Knight Klink was not taken by the Attorney General’s Office to the meeting of the Fiscal Council on December 22, 2020.
The Superior Prosecutor of the TSJM carried out the procedures that were requested of him and proposed on February 16, 2021 -this third time would be the charm– the filing of the proceedings. The Fiscal Council of February 26, 2021, finally, without knowing all the details indicated, when addressing the issue of the appointment of Caballero Klink, considered that it was in accordance with the regulations.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.