Saturday, September 18

The testimonies of opponents who pay judges and prosecutors in B: “At the beginning of the month there is a little envelope”

The thousands of opponents who fight each year to get a place in the judicial career study for years with a coach. Someone who has already achieved that feat, a judge or a prosecutor who complements his work in the courts with private teaching. Some of them do it by asking for the necessary compatibility and declaring the extra income; however, the majority enter that extra amount in cash and hide it from the Treasury. It is a practice that goes back a long way. And there are illustrious surnames of the Administration of Justice among those involved.

This is confirmed by the testimonies of numerous opponents with whom has spoken in an investigation carried out during the months of June and July: “The normal thing is to pay in black, at the beginning of the month an envelope is given.”

This newsroom has sent dozens of emails and has tried to contact by phone with protagonists on either side of the opposition table. It is not easy for applicants to enter the judiciary agree to speak on this matter. Many are afraid that it could harm them in a process to which they spend an average of five years and a significant financial outlay. And there are the relationships of complicity that are established between the preparer and the student forged during years of study, failures, troubles and ups and downs in which the tutor becomes a figure with a lot of ascendancy over the applicant, as recognized by several of this writing .

“It is very violent for me to talk about this issue,” replied one of the more than twenty students contacted; “This is something that costs a lot to get out and I do not want to look for unnecessary problems,” answered another. There were even those who expressed their reluctance to communicate by messages for fear of expressing certain things in writing.

Most of them, when contacted for this research, were initially open to talking about any aspect of the oppositions, until they were asked directly if they paid cash to their preparers or if they knew of cases like this in their environment . Most of those contacted stopped responding at that time.

Those who did have demanded complete anonymity, so all names in this article are fictitious. The city in which they live has also been omitted at the express request of all of them, the majority still immersed in the opposition process. Everyone who has agreed to speak to They have confirmed that they pay their preparers in envelopes, which makes it easier for that money to be hidden from the Treasury and not declared. This is a widespread practice.

Opponents insist that there is no way to pass if it is not with a coach, even though some of the academies use their high pass rates as claims on the Internet. Although sometimes they regret that they are charged in cash and that they do not declare that money, they all have good words towards those judges and prosecutors who become “mom or dad.” studying, how many minutes do I have to dedicate to each thing… You alone cannot organize yourself, you need personalized attention ”, indicates one of the opponents.

These aspiring judge and prosecutor dedicate, on average, 10 hours of study per day for six days a week. The normal thing is that they “sing” the songs in front of their coach once or twice a week. In the cases of the opponents contacted, all have exclusive dedication, they do not work in anything else. The normal thing is that they have a couple of weeks of vacation per year, although several preparers contacted assure that they leave that in the hands of the student, if he sees himself able to have a more free week, go ahead, if he wants to resign because the exams are approaching, it is also his thing.

That is the study plan they undergo for years to get a place, as Lucas has already achieved. He has recently approved the oppositions and has less qualms about talking about the cash payments to the preparers than his colleagues who are still studying: “I know infinite cases and it has happened to me with my two preparers. Neither of them accepted that I paid him in anything else. that it was not effective, and if at some point I could not attend, due to the pandemic for example, they asked me to wait for us to see each other ”.

In the Judicial School, the post-opposition step is a recurring topic of conversation. “Among colleagues there is a lot of comment because they charge everyone like that,” he says. “Surely there are those who do not do it, but I have not found it. They are not a few, it is generalized ”, he adds. In his case, he paid his first preparer 280 euros and the second 250. He assures that it was a high price, but because of the cache of the judges, who were the kind that are accessed by recommendation and are not advertised on the internet. Remember that the first one had between 12 and 15 students; that is, between 3,360 and 4,200 euros per month of income in B. He never saw anything like an invoice or a receipt.

“The normal thing is that they pay in black, at the beginning of the month an envelope is given,” says Ana, who has been studying for three and a half years after finishing her law degree. In her case, she says that during the pandemic she was able to pay his coach for Bizum, but as soon as the face-to-face cantes returned, the envelopes came back: “It’s normal, it has never been done otherwise. At the beginning of the opposition it did shock me, now I’m used to it ”.

It costs her 140 euros a month to go one day singing the songs, but she knows many cases of people who pay 300 euros. His coach has 11 students, about 1,540 euros a month, he calculates. Although, yes, he is grateful that during the most complicated time of confinement he offered to reduce that amount or even not pay for a month.

The opponents who have been contacted by this writing have many objections to talk about the issue. This is the case of Rocío. When asked for the first time, she answers without specifying: “I can say that what you tell me does not surprise me, from my little experience I can tell you that the process is not very clean.” She ends up directly acknowledging that yes, she also pays in cash. “Personally, I would prefer to deposit the payment monthly, but this is not the case. It is not a problem of ease of payment, but a tax one. Spain has a serious shadow economy problem and this also includes preparers ”, he adds.

The monthly fee for her preparer is 180 euros and she feels “very lucky” because she knows that it is not a very high price: “Normally it is 300 euros if you sing for two days or have several preparers”. Of course, he clarifies that in his case he only sings the songs one day during the week with a single preparer, which lowers the cost.

Blanca now has two trainers, because she changed recently. Before, he lived in a city in the north of Spain and trained with a judge there, who he paid in cash. Then came the pandemic and lockdown. The cantes began to be via video call, but the payments were paralyzed. “We could not pay in cash but we could have done it by transfer.” The judge said no, that he better wait until they could see each other again.

Blanca came to accumulate more than 600 euros of debt with this judge, who only agreed to a transfer when this opponent told her that she was leaving the city to go south with her parents: He immediately gave the bill. ”At his new destination, he contacted two preparers, in this case prosecutors. Again, the same story: you had to put the money in an envelope and give it to him when he went to do the face-to-face cantes.

Now he pays 180 euros, but his previous preparer charged him 220. “That seemed like a dentist’s office, opponents were passing by, sometimes there were five or ten of us.” From his accounts, that judge paid about 2,200 euros per month in black. Blanca searched On the Judicial Branch website if his preparer had requested compatibility. He also looked for the names of the preparers of other opponents with whom he had contact. None appeared, they had not asked the General Council of the Judiciary for permission.

Judicial associations do not see many solutions, beyond the General Council of the Judiciary taking the persecution of this type of practice more seriously. This is what Natalia Velilla, of the Francisco de Vitoria Judicial Association (AJFV) proposes, which demands that the Judiciary “track” which judges act as preparers without asking for compatibility, just as it is pursuing other actions. “Yes, it is in its tasks to know the compatibilities. The Council is strict with whoever it wants, because they are strict on other occasions,” he adds.

From the CPGJ they insist that it is not among their functions to check if someone skips that compatibility or exercises it without asking for it. Velilla answers: “The Council has powers to see if a person performs a function compatible with the jurisdictional function. For what interests them, the CGPJ does persecute you.” Velilla, who has just published a book entitled This is how Justice works, points out that a possible solution is a regulated exchange of preparers, organized through the CGPJ and the Ministry of Justice, but considers that both “have turned a blind eye to this matter.”

The AJFV is the second largest of the race. The majority, the Professional Association of the Magistracy, has not wanted to give its point of view for this article. Both associations have a pool of trainers, which they offer to students who contact them and who are required to have the compatibility granted. They also have a scholarship system financed by Santander bank, another controversial aspect: voices of the Judiciary wonder if it is the most appropriate for future judges to be trained thanks to aid from banks or companies on which they will probably have to decide in the future .

“When I started in this, this was already the case 35 years ago, in most cases it was not customary to declare this income, and that the preparers were the best judges and prosecutors in the career,” says Ascensión Martín, from Judges and Judges for Democracy. “It is a practice that should be banished,” he says. “I believed that it was no longer being done, I thought that this had evolved, I had that good faith, I was in the belief that this did not exist.”

Martín insists that it is the duty of judges and prosecutors to declare this income and adds that the CGPJ does not do much in this regard: “The Council relies on the good faith of colleagues who request that compatibility.”

From the Association of Prosecutors, the majority in the Public Ministry, they have not wanted to delve into the matter. “I know that many colleagues declare these perceptions. I do not know if there are those who do not declare them, nor is it something that they are asking because it is obvious that they must declare,” their spokesperson, Cristina Deuxeus, has answered

The Progressive Union of Prosecutors believes that the current system of preparation and opposition “can facilitate payments in B”. This is how the prosecutor Inés Herreros considers it: “It is a system that guarantees objectivity a lot, the people who know the issues best enter, that is what should be valued the most, but that we have arrived or enjoy that great advantage does not have us to prevent assessing the possibility of other systems “.

Thus, he believes that one of its deficiencies is that “access is not made through a public preparation system, which guarantees transparency in the training system and would also facilitate the existence of a system of access through scholarships, for what the merit and the ability would be the determining factor “. Without that, it is only possible to appeal to the individual responsibility of the preparers to declare their income, and collaborate with initiatives such as the free preparer bags, he points out.

In addition, Herreros emphasizes that special attention must be paid to the opposition of judges and prosecutors because, although all have their deficiencies and points to improve, those of the judicial career are especially important because the decisions they make “directly affect the life of the citizens”.

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