The Central Criminal Court has imposed penalties ranging from four months in prison to six years and nine months for 18 of the 20 defendants in the trial of the Valencian branch of the Gürtel case , considering their participation in illegal financing credited of the electoral campaigns of the Popular Party of the Valencian Community (PPCV) in the municipal and autonomic elections of 2007 and in the general elections of 2008.
In the judgment, concerning the separate pieces of Valencia 1, 2 and 6 of the Gürtel case, the defendants are condemned for electoral crimes, continuous documentary falsification and against the public treasury.
The sentence imposed on the leader of the plot, Francisco Correa , is five years and three months , on his right hand, Pablo Crespo , five years in prison, and Álvaro Pérez , six years and nine months . To all of them, in certain crimes, the extenuating circumstance of confession or active collaboration is applied to them, and Correa, in addition, the reparation of the damage for having allowed the repatriation of more than two million euros that he had in an acount in Switzerland.
Also within the so-called Grupo Correa, Cándido Herrero is sentenced to five years and one month in prison and three years to financial adviser Ramón Blanco Balín. Among the thrust of the PPCV at the time of the facts, the Court convicts former Secretary-General Ricardo Costa to four years in prison when the judge applied mitigating active collaboration or confession.
Former manager Cristina Ibáñez is sentenced to three years and four months; the ex-secretary of the training David Serra , three years and eight months, and the ex-secretary Yolanda García , four months. In contrast, the Central Criminal Court acquitted the former vice president of the Valencian Community Vicente Rambla .
15 days after the main sentence
This sentence for one of the pieces of the Gürtel case is released fifteen days after the other sentence for the main piece of this same corruption scheme for which the participant was considered PP lucrative, which supposed a motion of censure to the president of Government Mariano Rajoy and his exit from the Executive.
Now, the head of the Central Criminal Court of the National Court, José María Vázquez Honrubia, takes it as granted that several businessmen paid the Valencian PP in exchange for receiving awards in an irregular manner . In this case, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office had managed to get nine businessmen to recognize the crimes, so the proven facts were already assumed by those involved.
Both the leader of the plot, Francisco Correa , and his two trusted men, Alvaro Perez and Pablo Crespo are in prison serving a sentence of twelve years imposed by the Superior Court of Justice of Valencia, for another piece by Gürtel known as’ Fitur ‘case, and already confirmed by the Supreme Court. In addition, Correa and Crespo were sentenced by the National Court to 51 years in prison for the first and 37 years for the second. In this second sentence, Pérez, known as El Bigotes was acquitted.
Camps, “architect of the fraudulent mechanism”
In the sentence, the magistrate opens the door against the former president of the Generalitat, Francisco Camps , whom he points out as the “architect” of that fraudulent operation. Thus, he explains that his testimony as a witness in the trial was “totally unsuccessful because in relation to the facts he knows nothing, he remembers nothing, he does not recognize anything”. He emphasizes that even considering that he has been designated as “the creator of the fraudulent mechanism, he has the right not to testify against himself and not to plead guilty”.
Regarding the responsibility of politicians, the judgment places Costa according to the doctrine of the Supreme Court, as “the man who is behind” inasmuch as he had the functional domain of the criminal act regarding the illegal financing of the successive electoral contests. The judge recognizes as true that with regard to politicians “neither is credited indiciariamente nor contemplated nor accused of any kind of personal enrichment” his actions, according to the magistrate were committed “purely by political ambition to reach and remain in power.”
The sentence explains that “in order to obtain greater deployment in the electoral process, both in the 2007 elections and in 2008, the accused integrated into the PP of the Valencian Community (PPCV), each with different functions, hired to the commercial Orange Market SL -company Francisco Correa- services that paid irregularly, partly in cash and partly through third parties “.
On the other hand, the resolution details the actions of the condemned businessmen who, in collusion with the defendants linked to the PPCV and those responsible for Orange Market, financed a part of the expenditure committed by the accused political charges. They assumed the payment that this political formation owed to the merchant, making them appear as if they were services provided by Orange. This merchant provided them with invoices corresponding to alleged services that had not actually been provided.
Electoral “fair play”
In addition to the role of political officials, businessmen and managers of the ‘Correa Group’, the ruling describes the role exercised by the tax advisors José Ramón Blanco Balín and Cándido Herrero in the preparation of the invoices, as well as in the declarations before the Tax Agency that were made in Blanco Balín’s office. The system designed for payments was through correct invoices, other invoices were false and also with payments in “B”.
Magistrate Vázquez Honrubia clarifies in his sentence that for these events the electoral crime must be applied but higher penalties set in the Penal Code can not be applied in 2015 because the facts were earlier. “The article that is applied is a crime of mere activity that does not demand any result, it is considered as a crime of risk and if, as in all these crimes, the legal protection barrier is advanced, without the need for a result, it seems evident that the good legal protected is to immediately try to maintain the purity of the electoral processes, in short, the electoral “fair play”.
In addition to the immediate objective of guaranteeing that the electoral contenders have exclusively the legal means for their electoral appointments, the sentence adds another mediate objective that is to prevent an abstract risk, “preserve the neutrality and objectivity of the State in which the local and regional administration against assumptions such as in the present case where such neutrality and objectivity of the administrations is seriously questioned when the financiers of the electoral campaign are, precisely and precisely, winners and / or concessionaires of contracted works, services or supplies by the Administration whose political representatives have been elected by relying on an illegally financed campaign. “
It is definitely a crime of risk, a future danger because “in short we could talk about a deferred bribe: certain employers pay election campaigns today and maintain or obtain administrative contracts tomorrow.”
The judge concludes that it affects the general interests that the funders are or will be awarded public works or services and tarnishes in an “absolute” manner the repeated neutrality and objectivity.
The prosecution accused the former general secretary of the Valencian PP, Ricardo Costa , and another 18 people for alleged illegal financing of the party, with almost three and a half million euros, for the electoral campaigns of 2007 and 2008. At the end of the trial, Anti-corruption requested to reduce the penalties initially requested against the ringleaders once the trial had recognized the crimes.
Thus, for Costa, who acknowledged before the judge that the training paid for the electoral campaigns of 2007 and 2008 “with black money from contractors of the Generalitat” at the suggestion of the then regional president Francisco Camps, the prosecutor asked for a sentence of four years and three months in jail compared to seven years and nine months initially requested. For Correa, confessed master of the plot, the prosecutor asked to reduce the penalty substantially: from 22 years to seven years and three months.
In his statement, Francisco Correa acknowledged that one of its companies, Orange Market, charged 3.4 million euros in black from the Valencian PP for electoral acts and others of ordinary period in 2007 and 2008. Of this amount, about 1.2 millions were paid by at least nine businessmen, to whom Orange Market turned invoices for false concepts that hid the work carried out for the conservative training. For these nine employers, sentences of less than two years were required, which could be replaced by fines. Álvaro Pérez was asked 16 and a half years.