The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office considers it proven that the PP of the city of Valencia “committed electoral fraud” in the municipal elections of 2007 and 2011 because it “increased its budget for campaigns using the money obtained irregularly.”
This Monday, prosecutor Fernando Maldonado read his final report of the trial held by the Court of València after listening to the accused and the witnesses in Piece A of the case of Imelsa, where the former vice mayor of València, Alfonso Grau, was sued; the former secretary of the PP municipal group, Mari Carmen García Fuster; the former manager of the Valencia Tourism Foundation, José Salinas; and the former head of the Valencian Community Foundation for Urban Innovation, Juan Eduardo Santón.
Grau, 83, was charged with the crimes of embezzlement, continuous bribery, and document forgery; Fuster with the continuous crime of bribery, for which he was asked to serve a year in prison; and Santón and Salinas with continuous embezzlement and falsehood.
Maldonado emphasized: “Any act of corruption represents a great ethical and moral scandal because it is a bankruptcy of society and of its democratic institutions. the greater the shame.”
“In the 2007 and 2011 elections, the PP put the machinery in play to suppress the influence of other parties, but it started with an economic advantage. To know this operation, it is necessary to establish a context. “It is the national management that assigns the limits and the budget of the party of Valencia. And that figure was 133,000 euros for the 2007 election and 150,000 in 2011, but the money increased exponentially,” emphasized the prosecutor.
“It’s like Ali Baba’s cave.”
Therefore, he indicated that the municipal group “is the owner of two current accounts, one legal where the subsidies are deposited and the other where the secretary, who is paid as an advisor, deposits the commissions, the little corruptions. It’s like Ali Baba’s cave, because that narrative has no control other than the will of García Fuster.”
“In this context, the prosecutor continues, and the strong man of the local PP appears, namely Alfonso Grau, who has accumulated positions, is the spokesman of the municipality, and heads foundations and other public companies.”
The municipal group “is the owner of two accounts; one is legal and the other is where the secretary deposits the commissions.”
Anticorrupción detailed that Grau signed (without signing) a contract with Laterne in 2007 considering campaign actions for 150,000 euros, but “that campaign actually cost more than 2.5 million euros.” “That difference was not contributed by PP, because we checked its accounts by Laterne.”
“You have to pull the thread and see how Laterne pays its suppliers, and it was initially through entities and foundations created by the City Council. Laterne, a company not well known in Valencia, received very long contracts to implement modernization plans or “tourism projects” that, according to the accusations, did not result in any work.
Services not accredited
On the other hand, several companies that provided jobs and services to the City Council deposited funds into Laterne accounts for work for which they were not accredited. “This is objective data without these companies providing a justification or invoice.”
Anti-corruption: “This is objective data that does not exist in companies that provide a justification or invoice.”
“All the income received by Laterne from these companies was made during the election campaign. Neither before nor after Laterne had a business relationship with companies such as Lubasa, Secopsa, and Agricultores de la Vega ., and in all cases, their income in Laterne is in round amounts, which seem to be due to a donation rather than payment of real services,” added the prosecutor.
The “foundation stone” of the structure: Grau and Fuster
The prosecutor said about Gordillo: “We don’t believe the pressures or threats he made.”
In his opinion, “the cornerstone of this structure is Grau and Fuster.” The prosecutor harshly criticized the statement, as a witness, of Laterne’s former employee and Grau’s former adviser, Jesús Gordillo. “We don’t believe the coercion or threats that he made.” Likewise, he questioned that García Fuster invented the number of the “collector” of the party when he testified in the investigation phase, to protect the party’s donors, as he said in the room.
“He said that there was a generous donor, now deceased, who gave 100,000 euros to the municipal group. But with that amount, the PP did not even have enough for snacks since there was an event to present the candidates with the president of the party (Mariano). Rajoy) more than 200,000 euros,” added Maldonado in reference to an event held at the Palau de la Música in 2007.
Likewise, and in reference to 2011, he indicated that the communication company Trasgos did not provide any evidence of the alleged work carried out for the provision of companies (again, he cited Secopsa, Lubasa, or Agricultores de la Vega, etc.) and that the workers of the Valencia Tourism Foundation have never heard of companies like Laterne.
“The defense did not bring a single witness to prove the work done.”
“The defense did not bring a single witness to prove the work done” by the two communication companies for the public foundations. Finally, the prosecutor left it to the court to consider whether the crime of bribery of which García Fuster was accused could be prohibited by law. “If we consider that the PP account—the legal one—is not part of the criminal acts, it is possible that the facts are prescribed.”
In this Monday’s session, only one defense intervened, that of García Fuster, who, through his lawyer, José María Corbín, defended: “Garcia Fuster has been collecting and saving donations since 2010 and selling them with the profit in the account or payment of money. Something logical, reasonable, and equal. The prosecutor said that the money came from commissions, but he did not identify the agents of the commission, nor did he detail when this happened.