Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The PP on trial

At last, the anti-corruption trial has begun with 37 suspects in the dock.

Gürtel was a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme that has plagued the conservative Popular Party (PP) and has become the biggest known case of party-related corruption in Spain’s democratic history.

It has taken five years to unravel the complexities of the case which involves six regional governments and almost 200 public officials. Such is the complexity, the case has been split into parts and the first to come to court involves alleged corruption in Madrid.

At the centre of the case is Francisco Correa  and his activities between 1999 and 2005. Hundreds of public contracts were awarded to his companies, many without a tendering process. It is his name that led to the term Gürtel which is German for belt. He is known to many as "Don Vito", the Godfather for good reasons.

The former Popular Party treasurer,  Luis Bárcenas is also a key player in the case. His hand written ledgers of a "B" fund detail payments to party officials including regular payments to Mariano Rajoy.

The scandal has already cost the jobs of dozens of PP mayors, regional deputies and councillors, as well as a senator and a member of Congress. There are surely more to come.

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