The corruption of the Gürtel plot and the Popular Party spread its tentacles through all the echelons of the public administration: from town halls to state companies to regional administrations. The Supreme Court has issued its third final ruling on the corrupt Gürtel plot at this start of the year, a resolution in which the judges confirm the convictions of Francisco Correa, José Luis Izquierdo and two AENA communication officers during the stage in which Francisco Álvarez Cascos managed this body then attached to the Ministry of Development. The High Court considers corruption in this state body to be proven, just as it did before in the Government of the Valencian Community and in several Madrid city councils. All within the framework of what the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the Police defined as a “symbiotic relationship” between plot and party in a report seven years ago.
The Supreme Court ratifies the condemnation of the PP for profiting from the Gürtel plot
The sentence known this Thursday recounts how Francisco Correa and his companies took by storm the hiring processes of a public company such as AENA, manager of airports throughout the country. It was through its communication director, Ángel López de la Mota, and his subordinate José María Gavari. Both, the Supreme Court explains, “had worked for the Popular Party, in its press office, and on the occasion they met Francisco Correa.” By then, he relates, the leader of the Gürtel “was in charge of organizing, through his companies, acts of the aforementioned political party,” and Gavari “made his work for the Popular Party compatible with his work for Francisco Correa’s companies.” .
Thus the Gürtel plot came to dominate AENA’s public procurement. A total of 22 public awards for a value of 2.2 million euros in three annual payments, between 2000 and 2002, to organize the presence of the public entity dependent on Development at fairs such as Fitur or ExpoOcio. Contracts awarded with procedures manipulated by former PP workers, plagued by extra costs as booty for the plot that received in exchange thousands of euros in cash and gifts such as trips or even the works in the house of one of them.
The modus operandi It is similar to that deployed by the network led by Correa in other pieces that have already been sentenced, bribing public officials linked to the Popular Party to obtain public contracts, but it is the first sentence that declares that it has been firmly established that the looting took place in the public administration at the level state. An ‘AENA case’ that has resulted in six years and three months in jail for Francisco Correa, five years for Ángel López de la Mota and José María Gavari and three years and three months for José Luis Izquierdo, the accountant of the plot. No leading political leader has been convicted, not even Álvarez Cascos, who headed the Ministry of Public Works between 200 and 2004 during the second Aznar government.
The regional loot
The first final ruling on the Gürtel plot came in 2018, when the Supreme Court upheld the convictions of eleven people related to the activity that the plot unfolded in the Valencian Community between 2005 and 2009. Led by Álvaro Pérez ‘el Bigotes’, the plot he hunted down the Generalitat Valenciana and its regional loot with a company, Orange Market, created specifically for that. A “landing” of the network companies, according to the Supreme Court, which served for Correa and his followers to perpetrate a “substitution” of the contracting agencies of various ministries, holding public tenders at will.
A “take” of the contracting bodies that resulted in the irregular award of these contracts for Fitur in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Millions of euros that went beyond the organization of positions to promote the Valencian Community : they included concepts such as parties at the Posada de las Ánimas or lunches of more than 200,000 euros. Contracts from the regional administration that Francisco Camps headed at that time and money that came from the Tourism, Territory and Infrastructure departments as well as from the Valencian Tourism Agency. Again with profit margins for Correa and his companies that are not appropriate for a public contract.
The case resulted in final convictions for eleven people. From the thirteen years of Francisco Correa and Pablo Crespo to the twelve of Álvaro Pérez, passing through prison sentences also for public positions such as Milagrosa Martínez (Minister of Tourism), Rafael Betoret (Head of the Tourism Cabinet) or Jorge Guarro (Head of Promotion of the Agency), among others. The plot, according to the Supreme Court, came to the Valencian Community to take advantage of “access to certain people who developed their political activity in the area of this Autonomous Community, whom they had met and dealt with in the organization of events for the political party that he held the government of the Valencian Community “. The Popular Party.
The municipal booty
The criminal hyperactivity of Gürtel’s bosses in the local administration ended up costing the Government in 2018 Mariano Rajoy, as a result of a motion of censure presented by the PSOE that had the majority support in Congress, including that of the PNV that dropped the Executive he supported. Two weeks before, the National Court sentenced the stage of the corrupt plot known as ‘Epoch I’: the fixing of hundreds of public contracts in municipalities of Madrid, Malaga and also in the regional administrations of the capital and Castilla y León for a approximate value of more than 140 million euros between 1999 and 2005. A judgment essentially confirmed by the Supreme Court and which also firmly certified the irregular financing of the Popular Party in various municipalities of Madrid. A trial in which Mariano Rajoy himself testified. He denied knowing anything about his own party’s accounting and his testimony, said the National High Court, subtracted instead of adding: “It does not appear as credible enough” to deny the existence of box B.
The two sentences in the case depict how Correa and his companies looted the public coffers of Majadahonda, Pozuelo, the city of Madrid and Estepona doing what they knew best: bribing mayors and councilors to obtain public contracts in exchange. A “close and continuous relationship with influential militants” of the PP such as Jesús Sepúlveda (mayor of Pozuelo), his partner at the time, the later Minister Ana Mato, Guillermo Ortega (mayor of Majadahonda) or Ricardo Galeote (councilor in Estepona), among many others. Cleaning contracts or to build a citizen service office and irregular financing of municipal campaigns of the PP: more than 245,000 euros in Pozuelo de Alarcón and Majadahonda.
Majadahonda, a municipality of more than 70,000 inhabitants located 25 kilometers from Puerta del Sol, is considered one of the epicenters of a plot that infiltrated the municipal contracting systems of the Community of Madrid. It was there that José Luis Peñas, then a councilor, recorded the leaders of the network. In those tapes that the mayor made available to the Justice, Gürtel’s characters boasted of rigging and gifts. All that gave rise to the case that today has more than ten separate pieces with many of them pending trial.
The pending causes
What in 2009 was for Mariano Rajoy “a plot against the Popular Party” will continue to be a minefield for the conservative formation in the coming years. The next sentence is expected to be that of the National High Court on the reform of the headquarters of the Popular Party using black money but the trials of the big ‘balls’ of the plot are also planned in Arganda del Rey or Boadilla del Monte as well as the final ruling of the Gürtel in Jerez or on the organization of the Pope’s visit to Valencia in 2006, among others. The sentence on the reform of the central headquarters of the PP is not known but the case has already had consequences. Pablo Casado has announced his intention to leave Genoa 13 to try to leave behind the ghosts of a building that was even registered by the National Court.
Some of these cases pending resolution will continue to explore, therefore, how the Gürtel and the PP went hand in hand for a decade to loot municipal, regional and state coffers. In the case of the administrations at the national level, Judge Santiago Pedraz settled in July a case investigating whether the donations from businessmen received by the PP were aimed at obtaining public awards from ministries, as stated by Francisco Correa during one of the trials. Before the instructor, the former treasurer Luis Bárcenas pointed to the Ministers of Development and Environment of the Popular Party.