Saturday, June 25

The Valencia Court leaves Alfonso Grau one step away from the bench for the 2007 and 2011 campaigns




The Valencia Court has confirmed the prosecution of the former vice mayor of Valencia and number two of Rita Barberá, Alfonso Grau, for alleged embezzlement of public funds in the 2007 local election campaign and money laundering and improper passive bribery in 2011.

The court has dismissed the appeal that Grau filed against the order issued in October by the Court of Instruction number 18 after almost six years of investigation in the framework of piece A of the Taula case. His defense considered that his participation in events that, moreover, had prescribed, was not proven. A position that has not now been endorsed by the Provincial Court, which leaves the former leader of the PP one step away from the defendant’s bench.

The Prosecutor’s Office asks for him fifteen years in prison.

The investigator of the case pointed to Grau as the “collector of economic resources removed from the regularity and accounting transparency.” The car pointed out in a «transparent way» that between 2006 and 2009, the PP of the city of Valencia «entered and destined to the electoral campaigns an amount of money and resources much higher than that legally established and very especially in the campaign of the 2007 ».

This activity articulated «exclusively» in the local sphere of formation – which «was totally confused» with the political and economic work of the popular in the consistory – was «opaque, apparently to the national structure» of the party and «was carried out carried out by few people in the narrower circle of trust of the then mayor.

The then secretary of the Popular Municipal Group, María del Carmen García Fuster, -in charge of managing the money- would also be responsible for alleged bribery, to whom the Court filed the case of the ‘smurfing’ of 2015, but agreed to continue being prosecuted for the “alleged Receipt of money of unknown origin but nevertheless linked to charges from companies for unsubstantiated or extra-cost work ”in the previous election campaign.

According to the court, there is a “substratum that allows rationally and indirectly attributing the consideration of money derived from criminal activity to the money discovered through the handwritten notes, owned and handled by the appellant without having provided a coherent explanation that discards the aforementioned indications. ». Anti-corruption requests a year in prison for her.

It also agreed to follow the procedure against the former president of the Valencian Foundation for Innovation and Knowledge (FIVEC) and delegate of the Center for Strategies and Development (CEyD) Eduardo Santón, who faces five years in prison. The court dismissed his appeal against the abbreviated procedure order issued in October this year by the instructor, who appreciated in his conduct indications of embezzlement due to the hiring with public money of jobs that could not correspond to reality.

It only remains to know what happens with the person who was responsible for the Valencia Convention Bureau Foundation, José Salinas, whom the instructor also considered a cooperator in an embezzlement.

Smurf archive

However, in the Valencia Court he has been filing the cause of the so-called ‘smurf’ in the PP during the local elections of 2015 for the party itself -as a legal entity- and other 38 members of the team of the former mayor who died in 2016 during his last stage at the head of the City Council. The holder of Instruction 18 requested the opening of oral proceedings for all.

The court denies the indications of money laundering that the investigating judge used in his indictment and maintains his thesis: the defendants made a donation of one thousand euros to the training account for the campaign of those elections, but it is not proven that then they received two 500 euro paper bills from the black money allegedly collected in 2007 and 2011 by Alfonso Grau. An extreme that has been discarded, because by then Grau had already resigned after the Noós case broke out.

On provisional release

Alfonso Grau, 80, was already sentenced in 2019 to four years in prison for accepting luxury watches from a Valencia City Council contractor, exchanging them for more expensive ones and paying the difference.

He was provisionally released in November after remaining in prison since he was arrested in the Azud case on May 15 this year. The one who was Rita Barberá’s right hand man was in a provisional prison regime, notified and without bail as a precautionary measure to avoid the destruction of evidence that could incriminate him.

Along with the ex-leader of the PP, a dozen people were arrested, among whom was the then sub-delegate of the Government in Valencia, the socialist Rafa Rubio, and the builder Jaime Febrer, alleged leader. Both are also already on provisional freedom.

In this case, declared secret, crimes of prevarication, bribery, document falsification, money laundering, influence peddling, illicit association and criminal group are investigated for the alleged collection of bribes in exchange for public works awards in the Valencia City Council between 2004 and 2011.

An alleged corruption plot that coincides in time with the time when both Grau and Rubio were councilors of the Valencian consistory, in the PP Government and in the opposition, respectively, a position that they allegedly took advantage of to obtain irregular commissions with fictitious invoices that several companies would have made.

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