Friday, July 16, 2010

An Inconclusive Ending For The Great Madrid Espionage Scandal

It's a little bit disappointing to see Madrid's political spying case come to an end as it provides us with such a vivid portrait of the way in which the Aguirre Gang run both the regional government and the Madrid branch of the Partido Popular. The judge investigating the case decided to shelve the case on the grounds of insufficient evidence, although there is a distinct possibility of an appeal against this decision.

The Madrid PP wasted no time in manipulating the judge's decision to claim that it demonstrated that no spying had ever taken place. This is not what the judge has said, she simply points out that following someone else is not necessarily a crime. The key to the investigation was whether an offence of misuse of public funds had been committed, as those alleged to be tracking the movements of opponents of Aguirre in the PP were on the payroll of the regional government, not the party. The former policemen who are said to have done the spying appear to have no documented duties of any kind in return for being employed by Aguirre's administration.

Just a short time ago, it looked as if the case would almost certainly go to trial as the estranged wife of Sergio Gamón went to El País and told them that he had coordinated the spying operation. Gamón had to resign over the revelations, but Aguirre took swift revenge as she likes to do by forcing the dismissal of Gamon's wife from her position as a secretary at Telemadrid. The dismissal was of course unjustified and an excellent example of misuse of public funds in its own right, as it will be public funds that pay the compensation for a politically motivated sacking. Both Gamón and his wife, Yolanda Laviana, have a close association with Aguirre going back to before she became president in Madrid. The PP showed just how far they haven't progressed on issues of equality by attempting to dismiss Laviana's allegations as a resentful act by a women involved in an acrimonious divorce case.

So the judge's decision means that Espe's regime can continue to employ political appointees on high salaries whilst claiming that the crisis forces them to cut the salaries of those that have real jobs to do. Maybe one of those PP members who were spied upon will decide to appeal, although I suspect that they will come under pressure from the national PP leadership not to do so. Aguirre and Mariano Rajoy seem to have mended their relationship somewhat in recent months, and it will not be in the interests of either for the seedy goings on inside the Madrid PP to continue to grab headlines.


santcugat said...

Someone should pay a couple goons to follow Espe around. See how much she likes it.

Graeme said...

I was thinking more of the sort of surveillance techniques they use in high security prison wings.

Pueblo girl said...

Equally disappointing is that I haven't heard anything about the Gurtel case since Garzón was to all intents and purposes exiled. I suppose the PP would say that simply proves that it was he who was leaking evidence.

Graeme said...

No, Gürtel keeps on going - and in some ways is harder for the PP to derail now that Garzón is not involved. The other day the judge handling the case slapped down an attempt by the PP to stop him from referring the Valencian part of the case to the courts there. This, if the friends of Camps don't find a way of stopping it, could be very serious because it involves all the evidence of illegal party funding. It's not over.