The leadership of the Popular Party and, especially, its top leader, Pablo Casado, tried to turn the page when, on July 29, the judge of the National High Court Manuel García Castellón put an end to the instruction of Operation Kitchen, the case of the espionage to Luis Bárcenas carried out with funds reserved from the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of Mariano Rajoy to try to erase any type of evidence that could implicate the PP in another cause for corruption, that of Gürtel.
The false closure of Kitchen and the exculpation of the Ibex deflate the Villarejo case
That day they breathed a little calmer because, contrary to the criteria of the Prosecutor’s Office, in his car Judge Manuel García Castellón had filed the case against the one who was secretary general of the PP at the time of the events, María Dolores de Cospedal, who She was the great supporter of Casado in the 2018 primaries. Her support was decisive for the current leader of the opposition to defeat his rival, the former vice president of the Government Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, in the internal process, since after being eliminated in the first phase of the process as a result of the voting of the militants – in which Sáenz de Santamaría was the winner and Casado was second -, Cospedal deployed all his organic power to tip the balance in favor of the current party president.
Génova 13 intends to show that with this exoneration to Cospedal by the judge, which was added to that of her husband, the businessman Ignacio López del Hierro – linked for decades to Commissioner José Manuel Villarejo – and that of the former Director General of the Police Ignacio Cosidó – whom Casado appointed as spokesman in the Senate as soon as he won the primaries – the leader of the PP was free of any connection with the corrupt plot. Especially after months in which the accusation of what was his main support in the internal process torpedoed Casado’s plans to break with the past of irregularities and legal cases for corruption in which his party has been involved in recent years. years.
“The judge has said that the general secretary of the party, María Dolores de Cospedal has no responsibility, and I believe that this should lead to a reflection to the parties that have been saying that we were not doing anything against a person who today has seen that He was innocent. This national leadership is honest, it is transparent, and it has eradicated any lack of exemplarity that may have occurred in the past, “said the PP leader himself on the day that García Castellón’s car was known.
When Casado and García Egea clothed Fernández Díaz
Casado and his team obviate, however, that the two main defendants in the plot that the investigating magistrate has brought to trial, the former Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz – now suspended from membership – and the one who was his number two, the former Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Martínez -who left the party in 2019-, had positions in the PP when it was presided over by the current leader of the popular despite the fact that the investigation of the case had already begun and there were indications of their responsibilities in spying on Bárcenas.
Despite his involvement, Fernández Díaz, whom the judge considers to be the main person in charge of Operation Kitchen, was appointed by Casado as a member of his leadership after winning the primaries. He appointed him secretary of the Interior and Justice of the popular leadership although, given the progress of the investigation opened in the courts, the leader of the PP was later forced not to renew him in office after the general elections of 2019. In October of that year , the party’s general secretary, Teodoro García Egea, came to embrace Fernández Díaz in the presentation of the book on his political memoirs, which was also attended by Mariano Rajoy.
As for Martínez, Casado kept him in his PP seat in Congress until after the general elections of April 2019, despite the fact that the investigation already placed him in 2018 as one of the main responsible for the plot. The leadership of the popular, however, allowed him to remain as a party deputy until May 21, 2019, since he was retained as a representative of the PP in the Permanent Deputation, the highest organ of the Lower House outside the session, although Casado did not include him in the lists for the elections.
In the order that was known on July 29, the judge considers that it was Jorge Fernández Díaz, and no one above him, who “urged Francisco Martínez, whoever was, first his chief of staff and since January 2013 secretary of State of Security, to launch a mission aimed at obtaining information and documentation that could be under the power of the aforementioned Luis Francisco Bárcenas Gutiérrez “. It alludes to compromising documentation for the leaders of the PP, including Mariano Rajoy himself, to whom García Castellón did not refer in his car.
Francisco Martínez Vázquez, continues the magistrate in his text at the end of July, assumed the coordination of the operation, which was entrusted, in terms of its planning and development, to the Deputy Director of Operations (DAO), Eugenio Pino Sánchez, another of the defendants. Pino, in turn, says the magistrate, commissioned this operation to José Manuel Villarejo Pérez, who, for its execution, first used Marcelino Martín Blas, who was in charge of the Internal Affairs Unit (UAI) of the National Police Corps, and later Enrique García Castaño, head of the Central Operational Support Unit (UCAO), who personally assumed the commitment to carry out the mission, using the Special Follow-up Unit attached to said Unit.
The clues about Cospedal
In his decision, the magistrate closed the case regarding Cospedal, her husband and his former chief of staff, José Luis Ortiz, noting that, unlike the executive officers of the Ministry of the Interior, with respect to whom there is a solid circumstantial basis in the In this case, of these three “the weakness of the reasons that justify their incrimination is striking,” requested by the Prosecutor’s Office.
García Castellón’s decision came after months of instruction had tightened the siege on the former secretary general of the PP, who in November 2018 had to resign her seat after revealing her conversations with former commissioner Villarejo. Two months earlier, in September of that year, Casado’s management had chosen her as the representative of the PP on the board of the Elcano Institute, in which she was appointed vice president last February.
During the investigation, both the Prosecutor’s Office and the judge, as well as the agendas of Commissioner Villarejo, pointed to Cospedal as one of the main persons responsible for Kitchen. As a result of the lifting of the summary secret, it was learned that the ex-commissioner wrote down in his agenda a plan organized by Cospedal herself and by her husband, Ignacio López del Hierro to place the commissioner on leave of absence José Luis Olivera as Chief of Police , former head of the UDEF, the unit on which the agents who investigated the Gürtel case depended and continue to investigate box B of the PP.
In June, elDiario.es also exclusively revealed that Bárcenas commissioned an inmate with whom he had shared a confinement in Soto del Real to destroy the recordings that he kept in the ‘cloud’ and that he had made on Mariano Rajoy and Javier Arenas, in the that both would appear, according to the former treasurer, involved in the irregular financing of the party. Those revelations of the summary granted in the espionage of Bárcenas a leading role to Cospedal, although in the end the judge saw no reasons to bring her to trial.
The silence of Casado and the march of Genoa 13
Until last July 29, when the file of the case against the former secretary general was known, Casado at all times avoided talking about the imputation of his great supporter, being consistent with the commitment he adopted after his last great electoral defeat of only six years ago months, that of the Catalan elections – in which the popular ones were left with only three seats out of 135 in the Catalan Parliament and were surpassed for the first time in an election by Vox, which won 11 representatives -, which the PP leader attributed exclusively that the campaign of that appointment with the polls was marked by the trial on box B of the PP that was being held at that time in the National Court.
Then Casado decided to stage a break with the most recent past of his party, which is still being investigated in the courts, and in which, however, he had also held positions of responsibility. “That PP no longer exists,” he came to say during the campaign, alluding to the stages of José María Aznar and Mariano Rajoy in which Casado himself had organic positions.
Two days after the Catalan debacle of February 14, the leader of the PP assured that he and his leadership would stop talking about the corruption cases that affected the PP and announced the departure of the historic headquarters of Genoa 13 whose works, allegedly paid with black money, they were being prosecuted those same days. The move, six months later, nevertheless still does not materialize although, on July 29, Casado – without revealing yet whether the PP will choose to sell, rent or try to requalify the Genoa 13 building -, assured that the real estate agencies and consultants already They have presented their proposals for the new headquarters, so now your team will have to decide which is the one that best suits their interests.