Monday, May 25, 2009

Madrid Is Built On Dodgy Foundations

Esperanza Aguirre has every reason to feel aggrieved at the amount of attention currently dedicated to her Valencian counterpart, Francisco "Yes we Camps" (nickname courtesy of F.Gonzalez). The man known to the leaders of the Gürtel corruption ring as "El Curita" is grabbing headlines all over the place whilst Espe just has to snarl and bear it. Never mind, because help is at hand as yet another Madrid scandal appears.

When Operación Gürtel first emerged from the smelly swamp I noted that the names of some of the companies involved seemed to somehow fit the activities that they were dedicated to. Names like "Easy Concept" and "Good and Better" seemed so appropriate for those who had so few problems in winning contract after contract in Madrid and Valencia. The winner, however, has to be the foundation set up by the Partido Popular in Madrid to organise what can politely be described as a bit of "parallel financing" for the party. It's called Fundescam.

This foundation appears to have had no other activity than that of raising funds for PP electoral campaigns, most notably the two campaigns for the presidency of Madrid fought in 2003. Some of the very benevolent donors to this foundation also happen to have received contracts from the Comunidad de Madrid, something which is completely illegal at least where the donations are given directly to the party in power. The money came in from friendly donors, and much of it went out.... to the companies involved in Gürtel! Add to this the still very murky events surrounding the holding of a second election in 2003 and things look even worse.

Aguirre's first response to the issue was to blame the man in charge of the Madrid PP in 2003, Pio Garcia Escudero. This didn't go down well, especially with Pio, so the next step will almost certainly be to try and pretend that the Madrid PP is also a victim of what Mariano Rajoy yesterday called the "21st Century Torquemadas", previously known as anti-corruption prosecutors. In the meantime Espe's espionage case isn't dead and buried despite the fraudulent commission of investigation that led such a short and unhappy life. The judge investigating the case is reported to be using the mobile phone records of several of those said to be involved in an attempt to piece together their movements on certain important dates. Forget Valencia, the real action is still in Madrid.

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