Wednesday, May 25

Two corrupt networks that financed the PP profit at the same time in the ‘case of the 1%’ | Spain

The bench from the first day of the trial of the central plot of the 'Gürtel case' of corruption, on October 4, 2016.
The bench from the first day of the trial of the central plot of the ‘Gürtel case’ of corruption, on October 4, 2016.Chema Moya / EFE

The Gürtel and Púnica plots, investigated in the National Court, profited at the same time with finger contracts awarded by the Madrid government of the PP. Both corrupt networks, which admit to having financed the PP, billed more than two million for rigged contracts corresponding to the 1% that the contractors awarded public works had to dedicate to advertising, according to the General State Intervention. Luis Gálvez, one of the builders who paid that 1%, denied to the judge two weeks ago that he was a PP donor but admitted that they never controlled the destination of the 1% they paid for advertising.

The instruction of the Punic case, in which three autonomous Madrid presidents of the PP are imputed – Esperanza Aguirre, Ignacio González and Cristina Cifuentes – will end next July. Meanwhile, the second stage (2005-2009) of the Gürtel case She will be tried in the autumn with the PP as a lucrative participant in the crimes committed by former popular leaders and by the corrupt plot. In both cases, the indicted businessmen have admitted to the investigating judge that they financed the PP in exchange for the rigged contracts they received.

The head of the Gürtel network, Francisco Correa, acknowledged a few days ago through a manuscript sent to the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office his illegal activities in Boadilla del Monte with the payment of bribes to leaders of the PP.

On the other hand, the main businessman involved in the Punic case, Daniel Mercado, owner of Over Marketing, a company dedicated to advertising, confessed to the judge that he received rigged contracts in payment for the services provided and not charged to the PP during the regional elections of 2007.

These two corrupt business networks, whose bosses have already confessed in different judicial processes that they illegally financed the national PP and the Madrid PP, took advantage of the 1% case: the percentage of the budget that the companies awarded public works in the Community of Madrid had to reserve for institutional advertising of their work.

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The millions of euros earmarked for that purpose ended up in the hands of the two corrupt schemes that are investigating different courts and dotting various businessmen who appear in the parallel accounts of the national PP that the then treasurer Luis Bárcenas controlled for two decades.

A report from the General State Comptroller details up to 29 institutional acts to publicize different public works that were executed by Francisco Correa’s companies with a charge of 1% of the budgets awarded to different construction companies.

The Gürtel network charged 758,000 euros for these jobs, of which they dedicated 41,000 euros to pay illegal commissions to the counselor Alberto López Viejo (PP), who was then in charge of organizing the institutional propaganda acts in which the president Esperanza Aguirre participated. López Viejo was sentenced to 38 years in prison in the first stage (1999-2005) of the Gürtel case.

In addition to those acts awarded to Francisco Correa’s network, the investigation proved that Daniel Mercado’s companies had received up to 1,190,000 euros for the same type of work.

Mercado has confessed to the judge that the Ministry of Health gave him all those contracts – actually paid for by the construction companies – as compensation for the services he provided for Aguirre’s electoral campaigns but that he never charged. The evidence of these alleged crimes is part of the summary of the Punic case, whose investigation is nearing completion in the National High Court.

Distribution of the cake

The firms of the Gürtel network led by Francisco Correa and of the Over Marketing group, owned by Daniel Mercado, distributed 1% of the budget for the works awarded by the Community of Madrid by hand and without competition, which the construction companies had to devote to advertise them. In this way, the companies in charge of setting up the events and organizing the institutional advertising of public works in the Community of Madrid were always the same: the Francisco Correa group or Daniel Mercado’s companies.

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The last testimony on these events came on the rebound, caused by the confession of Luis Bárcenas, former Treasurer of the PP, before the court that judges box b of the conservative formation.

Bárcenas pointed to the businessman Luis Gálvez, as an anonymous donor of 60,000 euros to the PP of the Community of Madrid. This accusation made Judge Manuel García Castellón, instructor of the Punica case, summon Gálvez to testify at the Hearing as a defendant on March 25.

The businessman denied the accusations of the former treasurer after ensuring that he had never entered the headquarters of any political party or knew Bárcenas at all.

The anti-corruption prosecutor then requested the provisional file of the case and the judge decreed it. But Gálvez added in his statement that the Temporary Union of Companies in which he participated to build a hospital for the Community of Madrid in Vallecas had to dedicate 1% of the budget to advertising work. And that the company could never decide that it was going to dedicate itself to making the institutional propaganda of public works. These facts were highlighted by the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office in the letter requesting the provisional filing of the case against Gálvez.

The Government of Esperanza Aguirre was in charge of managing that 1% of the budgets of the works published to hand-hand the institutional propaganda works to companies that, according to the investigation of the Punic case and from Gürtel case, they illegally financed the PP.

The triangle that joins the Bárcenas, Gürtel and Púnica cases

The trial that has been held in the Hearing since last February by box b of the PP, with which this party supposedly paid part of the reform works of its main headquarters, has highlighted some indications of the illegal management of the conservative formation for a decade (1999-2009) through a triple path of corruption.

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First way. The national PP had an undeclared financing system for the Treasury managed by Luis Bárcenas by which there were private companies that donated black money to the party with which some expenses were financed, according to the judicial investigation and admits the ex-treasurer. Among the donors of box b of the PP are businessmen, such as Alfonso García Pozuelo or Rafael Palencia, who have already recognized in other open court cases the payment of illegal commissions in exchange for public contracts.

Second way. García Pozuelo is one of the businessmen charged in the Gürtel case that he has already admitted that he paid bribes in various municipalities in exchange for public works awards. Part of these illegal commissions, according to the indictment of the Prosecutor’s Office, went to the PP.

On the other hand, Francisco Correa, head of the business plot tried in the Gürtel case, He declared to the court: “A businessman came and gave us the tender, to see if he could get the work to be for us. I passed it on to Bárcenas and Bárcenas managed it with the corresponding ministry. If we were awarded the award, the entrepreneur would deliver a 2% or 3% percentage and then take it to Genoa ”. Correa was to testify at the hearing tomorrow, but the trial of box b has been suspended until next week due to the vaccination of the president of the court.

Third way. One of the businessmen who appears as a donor in Bárcenas’ papers, although he denies that he contributed funds, is Luis Gálvez, whose company built the Infanta Leonor de Vallecas hospital. The Community of Madrid made it mandatory to reserve 1% of the budget for institutional propaganda and publicity tasks. But that money, as Gálvez admitted to the judge, was never controlled by the construction companies but by the Government of the Community of Madrid, who awarded it to companies whose officials have already admitted that they financed the Popular Party in exchange for the contracts.

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