Wednesday, January 19

The former socialist mayor of Santa Coloma convicted of the Pretoria case enters prison

The former socialist mayor of Santa Coloma de Gramenet Bartomeu Muñoz entered the Quatre Camins jail (Barcelona) last Sunday to serve the sentence of five years and eight months in prison imposed by the National Court in the Pretoria corruption plot, they have informed sources familiar with the case. The entry into prison occurs twelve years after the outbreak of the case.

Muñoz became the condemned person in the Pretoria case with the highest penalty after the Supreme Court lowered it to the former PSC deputy Luis Andrés García, ‘Luigi’, mastermind of the urban corruption plot that socialist and convergent ex-officials devised in exchange of commissions. From seven years and one month in prison, he passed to a sentence of four years and three months. His admission to prison is suspended.

In 2018 the National Court condemned Muñoz, García, and the exalted Pujolistas Lluís Prenafeta and Macià Alavedra for carrying out urban operations in Santa Coloma, Sant Andreu de Llavaneres and Badalona that were manipulated to pocket commissions either directly or through intermediaries or front men.

Instead of favoring the public interest, the operations “sought to obtain high economic returns for promoters and private investors,” the judges ruled. The profits for the constructors came to exceed 4 million euros.

Both the National Court and the Supreme Court rejected that the wiretapping that took place during the investigation was illegal. The punctures were one of the main tests that led the National Court to the “unequivocal conclusion” that contracts and urban plans were modified “under a false appearance of legality”, with “complacent reports, lacking in rigor and objectivity” with the purpose of enrichment of those involved.

The National High Court applied the mitigation of undue delays to all the defendants due to the slowness with which the case went to trial: 8 years and 8 months passed from the Pretoria operation to the sentence. Three years and three months later the entry into prison of one of those convicted of the plot is consummated.

Prenafeta and Alavedra agreed with the Prosecutor’s Office a reduction of sentence that implied avoiding prison and did not appeal to the Supreme Court. Yes, the two exalted socialist positions, the main convicts of the case, did it, the businessman Josep Singla and the henchman of ‘Luigi’, Manuel Valera. The Supreme Court only kept the sentence for Muñoz and lowered them to the other three convicts.

In the case of ‘Luigi’, the Supreme Court acquitted him of the crime of documentary falsification to which he was sentenced to one year and six months in prison by the National Court and reduced the penalty for the crime of bribery by one year and five months in prison for undue delays in the case, which broke out in 2009 in an operation ordered by the then investigating judge of the National High Court, Baltasar Garzón. In this way, ‘Luigi’ went from a sentence of seven years and two months in prison to four years and three months.

The magistrates emphasized that ‘Luigi’, both before and after his time in Parliament as a PSC deputy, “maintained fluid personal and professional relationships with various public positions”, which allowed him to act as “achiever”, “facilitator” or ” intermediary “of Pretoria in favor of the convicted promoters. Later, it was arranged with Muñoz and other socialist positions to carry out the operations. In exchange, they received “large returns and commissions” that he concealed through intermediary companies.

For their part, Prenafeta and Alavedra, “aware of the contacts and influences” of ‘Luigi’, agreed with the former PSC deputy to develop urban operations. This allowed them “to receive illicit commissions devoid of all justification and commercial logic”, and which were paid by businessmen who managed to obtain “large profits derived from adjudications and speculative real estate operations” sponsored by politicians.