|Well, we're fond of this one|
Spain’s judges are busy this week, dispensing justice to ex-politicians and crooks both. In politics, which must always take centre-stage (after all, we voted for them), the ERE case in Seville takes the lead. Two ex-presidents of Andalucía were in the dock with nineteen other ex-officials for mismanagement and worse of a truly gigantic sum of ‘public money’: 680 million euros. None of which, of course, after an investigation lasting a decade, has been retrieved. It is said that corruption and politics go hand in hand in Spain... like pan y chorizo.
The damage to Andalucía’s reputation is immense, of course. Here, at Cuarto Poder, they talk of ‘andalucidio’. But the capital of Seville has enjoyed a reputation for crookery for several decades (remember the EXPO 92?).
In the sentencing, ex-president Manuel Chaves got fifteen years inhabilitación (barred from public office – not, at 74, that he has any plans) and his successor José Antonio Griñán was served with six years of jail plus his inevitable inhabilitación. More on the background to the ERE is here and the accused, one by one, are examined here.
The political reactions over the ERE case: ‘It is not a case against the PSOE but of former officials of the Junta de Andalucía’ say the Socialists while the PP calls for ‘political responsibility from Pedro Sánchez’. Santiago Abascal wants ‘the isolation of the most corrupt party in Spain’ and Albert Rivera (who he?) has asked Pedro Sánchez to resign. Those stories from El Mundo are here and here. El País, which has a more liberal colour, contents itself with ‘The ERE and Gürtel corruption cases: differences and similarities’ here and, in their English edition, here. Finally, Pablo Iglesias from Podemos tweeted that the two-party system breeds graft, whereas multiple parliamentary parties is a safeguard against it. He says ‘Spain will no longer tolerate corruption’.
That’s not to say that Podemos doesn’t have issues with the courts. Isa Serra, a deputy in the party, was involved in a fracas during a protest against an eviction back in January 2014. The trial will begin soon says the ABC here.
Life, in short, goes on.
In Catalonia, the president Quim Torras was summoned to court on Tuesday for refusing to remove the yellow protest ribbons (against the sentencing in the process) during the April elections. ‘I disobeyed, because it was an illegal order’, he told the judge. The prosecutor is asking for a stiff fine and twenty months inhabilitacíon (which, for an acting politician, is a meaningful punishment).
But, away from politics...
The electric company apparently pulled a fast one... ‘A judge charges Iberdrola for fraud in their photovoltaic plant in Badajoz. The multinational rented a huge estate without informing the owner that the use of renewable energy would allow its subsequent expropriation at bottom prices’.
The manada are a group of five youths who have been sentenced for a group-rape in Pamplona during the Sanfermines of 2016. This week, they were in court again for videoing the attack. Two of them received at extra three years prison to add to the fifteen they are already serving. Four of them are also being tried in a separate rape case from Córdoba.