Wednesday, February 21

Anti-corruption calls for 19 years in prison for former PP minister Eduardo Zaplana for the bribery plot of the ‘Erial case’

The former minister of the Government of José María Aznar and former president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Eduardo Zaplana, will sit on the bench of the accused. The head of the Court of Instruction number 8 of Valencia has issued the oral trial order against Zaplana and the alleged network of commissions in tax havens.

The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office requests a sentence of 19 years in prison for the former PP politician, whose loot from alleged bribes in tax havens has been estimated at 15 million euros for the instruction.

On the bench they will accompany Zaplana, the former president of the Generalitat Valenciana, José Luis Olivas; the alleged figurehead Joaquín Barceló, Zaplana’s childhood friend and known as Pachano; as well as his then chief of staff Juan Francisco García. For Olivas, who was already convicted in another case, the Prosecutor’s Office asks for six years in prison.

For Pachano, The Public Ministry requests eight years in prison and a 20 million euro fine, the same request that the tax advisor for the alleged plot, Francisco Grau, is facing. Anticorruption also asks for 14 years behind bars for Juan Francisco García and for the businessmen Vicente and José Cotino Escrivá, nephews of the late former PP minister Juan Cotino.

The former regional deputy of the PP Elvira Suances and her brother Saturnino face a request for five years in prison, the same sentence that Anticorruption requests for businessmen close to Zaplana Robert Edgar Bataouche, Francisco Pérez López (alias Paco Gasofa) and Angel Salas.

The anti-corruption prosecutor, Pablo Ponce, assures in his indictment that the former minister, after leaving politics, “carried out the necessary acts to hide the origin of the illicitly obtained assets for later enjoyment through companies and figureheads.”

Thus, during his “extensive political career”, the former president of the Generalitat Valenciana, “formed a group of close people in order to obtain illicit benefits thanks to his institutional and government position”, according to the Anticorruption letter.

The investigation of the ‘Erial case’ has proven a fortune in tax havens of 15 million euros allegedly laundered through a complex international washing machine that passed through tax havens such as Luxembourg, Switzerland, Panama, Andorra or Uruguay, among other destinations.

The judge also sends Mitsouko Flerida Henríquez, Zaplana’s secretary, accused of her role in receiving part of the illicit funds from abroad, to the dock. For the woman, the prosecutor requests eight years in prison and a fine of 20 million euros.

The Anticorruption letter requests the confiscation of “goods and effects in cash” of 20 million euros for Zaplana and 10.5 million for the Cotino brothers.