The Cortes of Castilla y León close the parliamentary course after several months of absences, silences and reproaches in the commission of investigation of the main cases of corruption in the Community. It is the second attempt by Parliament to investigate what happened between 2003 and 2007 in the wind power plot and whether or not there was an extra cost in the purchase of La Perla Negra, the Business Solutions building of the Ministry of Economy and the lands of the failed industrial estate of Portillo. This mandate has also included the investigation of headquarters abroad, although this issue has not yet been addressed.
Since it was constituted, the commission has had two working rhythms and two presidents, after the loss of the absolute majority of PP and Ciudadanos. In the first months, the parliamentarians gathered documentation to decide who would appear and who would not. In little has changed the inquiries of the investigation commission, although the PSOE has accelerated the pace of appearances. The Socialists recognize that the evolution of the commission is not entirely satisfactory because of the silences.
At first, 267 names were proposed to testify. With the rejection of the Popular Party, the Socialist, Citizens and Mixed groups – We can – agreed on the first list of those appearing and a distribution model based on political representation. Soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and parliamentary activity slowed for a few months. The PP requested a legal report to see if the proportional distribution system was legal, which did not reach the commission in the first post-confinement session, and on July 30, 2020 the first appearance was held, that of the regional president, Alfonso Fernández Manueco.
Mañueco, then Minister of the Presidency and Justice, did not find out about the wind plot, or the Perla Negra case or that there was a seat of the Board in Panama, as he assured in the appearance. He also pointed out that the former high-ranking officials of the Ministry of the Economy charged with the Wind Plot and the Black Pearl are “in a private capacity.” Again, the appearances were suspended until the end of September.
Tension, tension and reproaches
Tension and tension have been two of the main protagonists in this commission of inquiry, with reproaches among parliamentary groups and the refusal to testify by more than half of those appearing. The PSOE criticized the constant refusal to answer the questions of the attorneys, while the Popular Party ugly the socialists who ‘humiliated’ the appearing parties.
Once again, the investigation commission for Delgado’s disease, president of the investigation commission, was blocked until he joined and the PSOE assumed the Presidency of the investigation commission of the Wind Trap after the Junta de Castilla y León lost the absolute majority after the departure of María Montero de Ciudadanos. The commission was reconfigured: two attorneys from the PSOE, two from the PP, two from Citizens and one from the Mixed Group. This change of seats produced at the end of April was harshly criticized by the parties of the autonomous government, who considered that the PSOE had “taken advantage” of the fact that the until then president, José Ignacio Delgado (Cs), had spent a long period of low for COVID.
Video appearances from Poland
About forty appearing parties have already passed through the Campos de Castilla courtroom, although more than half – almost all of those who are judicially implicated – have availed themselves of their right not to testify, even by videoconference from Poland. This was the case of Alberto Esgueva and Germán José Martín Giraldo, who excused themselves in the pandemic and now operate from Warsaw. The former director of ADE Internacional Excal between 2003 and 2006, the businessman Alberto Esgueva, is one of the main investigated in the so-called ‘Trama de La Perla Negra’ and in the ‘Trama Eólica’, of which he was the largest beneficiary. German Martín Giraldo was administrator of Urban Proyecta PM3, a company that sold the Arroyo Administrative Uses Building (Valladolid) to the Board and also participated in the purchase of land for the failed industrial estate in the Valladolid town of Portillo. The PSOE left the commission to show its disagreement with these telematic appearances.
Witnesses have also passed in the legal proceedings, businessmen, senior officials of the regional government, territorial heads of the Board and two inspectors of the Tax Agency who worked on the wind power and the former special delegate of the Tax Agency in Castilla y León; but their responses were limited by the duty to reserve tax data, criminal and confidential proceedings due to the judicial investigation.
This has created a whole “media circus”, according to the Popular Party, which has accused the PSOE on several occasions of only wanting explanations of the Popular Party charges for the fact of being one. The PSOE recalls that the commission is to purge political responsibilities in the face of two pending trials. “Raúl de la Hoz came to throw his speech and balls out and it seemed more that he was going to give a rap to the parliamentarians than to give accounts and responsibilities,” reproaches the attorney Patricia Gómez
Some appearing parties have disregarded previous statements or the responses of one and the other have clashed. Others, directly, have not gone to the Cortes of Castilla y León or have not collected their requirements. The former Coordinator of Services of the Ministry of Economy and Employment, Tomás Machota Martín, did not want to answer the solicitors’ questions about his state of health – he had suffered a heart attack – and refused to return to the Courts when he was recovered.
The summary of the socialists is that there are two positions in the commission of investigation of the eolic plot and the ‘Black Pearl’, “The PSOE and Podemos are clear about what we are going to this commission, to try to debug political responsibilities” and the position of Citizens and PP, that there is no progress in the investigation. Patricia Gómez reproaches the party led by Inés Arrimadas and a partner in the regional Executive for “going as a party to the PP and doing their job, which is to cover up the alleged corruption that is the Popular Party.”
There are currently 17 people indicted in the judicial investigation of the wind plot and a dozen in that of the Black Pearl, an investigation with several loopholes after six years of instruction. The new cycle of appearances will resume in September, when the PSOE does not rule out calling back Mañueco or the Minister of Finance, Carlos Fernández Carriedo.
Failure in the previous legislature
The first failure, including a court ruling, occurred in the last legislature, with Juan Vicente Herrera still in command of the Junta de Castilla y León. Three months before the 2019 elections, the Constitutional Court agreed with the PSOE and declared that the right of two socialist attorneys to exercise their representative functions had been violated because the dynamics of the investigation ‘paralyzed, disturbed, obstructed or, at least it delayed and delayed its purpose. ‘
The first commission was created at the end of 2015 and the PSOE wanted to call more than forty people to declare, among which was the then regional president, Juan Vicente Herrera, a request that was vetoed by the PP on numerous occasions. Also on the table were the appearances of the former Minister of Economy and Finance, Pilar del Olmo – current leader of the Municipal Popular Group in the Valladolid City Council – and the former Vice President (1999-2003) former Minister of Economy (2003-2015), Tomás Villanueva , who died unexpectedly shortly before declaring as a defendant in the judicial investigation of ‘La Perla Negra’.
The Table of the Cortes agreed at the end of 2017 to reject the requests of the Socialist Party to promote the sessions of the Commission and organize a schedule of appearances, which was finally declared null, although it was of little use in that legislature.