Spain’s ruling force fined 250k for benefiting from the fraud, with ringleaders facing 37 to 51 years behind bars
The long-awaited ‘Gürtel’ corruption plot sentence is out, and it affects Spain’s ruling party, the People’s Party. Its former treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, has been sentenced to 33 years in jail and fined 44 million euros, with the party fined around 250,000 euros for benefiting from the fraud. The case involves accusations of kickbacks for the People’s Party in exchange for giving contracts to a network of businesspeople bidding for tenders.
The scheme ringleader, Francisco Correa, has been sentenced to 51 years in jail. The Spanish National Court sentenced another businessman involved, Pablo Crespo, to 37 years behind bars. Former Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato will have to pay back 28,000 euros for having used money from the ‘Gürtel case’ for personal trips and events for her family.
The Spanish National Court sentenced 29 out of the 37 people facing trial for this case, also including Bárcenas’ and Correa’s wives, Rosalía Iglesias and Carmen Rodríguez Quijano, respectively. They have both been sentenced to around 15 years behind bars. All the sentences ordered by the court add up 351 years in jail. During the trial, the Spanish president was summoned to testify as a witness. Mariano Rajoy commented on the news just before it was public, by saying they were “isolated cases,” but also admitting that corruption plots “do a lot of damage” to his party.
President Torra implies a link with raids
The sentence coincided with a large Spanish police operation against the Barcelona region authority also on Thursday. Indeed, the Catalan president, Quim Torra, implied that both developments could be linked. A local councillor in Barcelona for pro-independence ERC party, Jordi Coronas, said on Twitter on Wednesday that ahead of the ‘Gürtel’ sentence, it was only yet to know “which offices in Catalonia will be raided by the Spanish Guardia Civil police in order to cover up the news a little bit.” To this tweet, Torra reacted after knowing these developments by tweeting: “Profetic.”
Torra’s predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, went further. “It’s no surprise that the [Spanish police unit] UDEF and its media partners organize a show in Catalonia to cover up the systemic Gürtel corruption,” he tweeted.