The ex-mayor of Bigastro, Raúl Valerio Medina, turned up in court with 140 invoices to explain his expenditure using the town’s credit card. Initially he was asked to explain 24,146 euros out of 30,251.90 of expenditure on the card. That was reduced to 21,000 euros which he claims were covered by the invoices he presented.
One of the bills was dated 6th June 2011, two weeks after he lost the position of mayor. Medina says that, although the bill was paid on that date, it corresponded to a invoice from Silvino Restaurant in Almoradi made two days before the election took place.
Apart from the restaurant bills, you will recall that there were invoices from supermarkets which Medina claimed were for materials needed at the Town Hall.
According to the secretary, funding for use of the credit card for amounts up to 2,000 euros per month was budgeted for and required no further justification.
Still a candidate
Since the ex-mayor now believes that he has proved his innocence in this case, he thinks that he should be allowed to head the list of socialist candidates in Bigastro.
I was chatting the other day with my neighbour Aurelio Murcia about Medina’s position regarding the forthcoming elections. He said that, whilst in Britain a candidate who had cases of alleged fraud against him would not be able to stand, here in Spain things are different. The fact that there are so many cases brought forward would not deter the electorate from voting for Medina. Instead, they would see this as the opposition trying to blacken his name without justification.
I suppose the real difference is, in England the parties sling mud at each other but leave it to the Prosecution Services to take cases to court if they are serious enough. Here in Spain (well Bigastro at least), it is the parties that take the cases to court. Whilst we would regard someone taken to court as being serious, in Spain it is a fact of everyday life.