The Supreme Court has set in motion the necessary machinery to try Alberto Casero, a PP deputy, for several allegedly irregular contracts signed during his time as mayor of the Extremaduran town of Trujillo. The investigating judge understands that he may be accused of crimes of prevarication and embezzlement and proposes that the parties submit a request to the Congress of Deputies to be able to proceed criminally against him.
The five contracts that have brought Alberto Casero before the Supreme Court: from the Cheese Fair to Peruvian gastronomy
Alberto Casero, a deputy from the Popular Party who got the government’s labor reform to go ahead thanks to his erroneous vote in favor, is accused of various contracts signed between 2017 and 2018 when he was mayor of Trujillo. Contracts, for example, to hire a psychologist with municipal funds to care for victims of sexist violence, or also to organize the local Cheese Fair.
According to the judge who investigated the case, Alberto Casero knowingly committed irregularities in all these contracts. He acted, says the instructor, “failing to comply with all kinds of formalities required for this purpose by the applicable regulations in each case.” His way of acting in all these hiring processes as mayor, he adds, “not only involves repeated and admitted administrative irregularities” but also involved “avoidance of control mechanisms”, among other things.
The landlord himself appeared as a defendant and acknowledged these irregularities before the judge, although denying that it could be a crime. The judge now explains that there is not only a possible crime of prevarication but also another of embezzlement, punishable by imprisonment. The investigators have focused, in total, on five contracts, agreements and invoices that cost 94,000 euros from the municipal coffers without informing the consistory and without reports or hiring files.
His status as a graduate, being a deputy of Congress, implies that before being able to prosecute him and put him on the bench, he must obtain the approval of the lower house. That is why the judge has taken his reasoned statement so that a request be sent to Congress itself.
The judge accuses Caser of equating his will with the ability to launch these contracts without going through the control mechanisms of the Trujillo town hall. “Verbal contracts prohibited or without any processing or advertising, circumvention of control mechanisms, direct assumption of payments for the integrity of the services that, in addition to newspapers, were provided to an entity in which the municipality was only a part,” he cites for example the Supreme.
Some facts that for the judge are “fully subsumable” in a crime of prevarication but also in one of embezzlement of public funds, which opens a hypothetical accusation to a request for jail and not only disqualification. This reasoned statement accuses him of “having exceeded his powers of administration of the city council’s assets, causing real damage to it.”
Casero’s “house brand”
This same Monday the Supreme Court has released another letter from the investigating magistrate in which he refuses to file the case at the request of Casero himself. An order that reflects the defense arguments of the politician, among them those that he exposed in his statement as accused: “As Mr. Casero Ávila repeatedly pointed out in his statement in court, the resources of the City Council to manage the hiring were extremely precarious, and order not being a house brand”, say their lawyers.
That “house brand” recognized by Casero is a total lack of control and communication in the five contracts investigated by the Supreme Court. Casero’s defense insisted unsuccessfully on the theory of non-punishable errors: “For more administrative errors that may exist and that, given the functioning and precariousness of the City Council’s means, are perfectly understandable, all the contracted work was provided.”
The Prosecutor’s Office supported the judge’s move not to file the case. “We would find ourselves in these cases before verbal contracts absolutely prohibited by the applicable regulations,” reproached the Public Ministry in one of its writings. “From all of this there is rational evidence of an absolute lack of foundation in the contracting carried out by Mr. Casero Ávila,” said the Prosecutor’s Office, pointing out the prevarication and embezzlement of public money.