To say that the investigating judge listening to the declaration of Jaume Matas was unimpressed would be a huge understatement. "Kafkian" and "absurd" are just a couple of the terms used by the judge who accused Matas of mocking mere mortals in his defence against a truly impressive list of corruption related charges. In the end Matas has to come up with €3 million bail if he wants to avoid going to jail before the trial. Some were thinking that his situation might mean that the Partido Popular would finally get a chance to show off the new ethics code that they are supposed to have adopted. In the end Matas saved their face by voluntarily suspending himself from membership. He also resigned from his position as an adviser with PricewaterhouseCoopers! I'm dying with curiosity to know what his advice to them consisted of.
Back in Madrid we've had some interesting revelations concerning a company that has associations with those involved in the Gürtel case. It seems that well over a million euros was given to Marketing Quality Management for a publicity campaign, the visible results of which appear to have been....well, nothing. It took opposition representative Reyes Montiel almost a year just to get access to the papers on this contract, which tells us all we need to know about La Lideresa's commitment to open government. Apart from the lack of results, the case shows how it is possible for administrations to bend the rules rather than simply breaking them. Formally they follow the procedures with what looks like an open invitation to tender, but somehow all of the other competitors get eliminated for a variety of convenient reasons so that the winner is hardly ever in doubt. No need to even break the project (supposing it exists) up into small pieces which can be awarded without any tender process.
Finally for today we have the always exemplary José Maria Aznar. The right wing press have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of the PP congress that made the moustachioed crusader party leader. If you believe them, this was an event that transformed Spain's standing in the world, only for the evil ZP to destroy all of his good works. It seems that the Tribunal de Cuentas, responsible for overseeing financial probity in the public sector is not so impressed. They are investigating the decision by Aznar's administration to allocate a cool €2 million to an American lobbying firm whose brief was to secure the Congressional Gold Medal for our hero of the Azores. The medal never came, but the money was spent. Amongst the recollections of the 20th anniversary has surfaced the statement made by Aznar that the PP was "incompatible" with corruption. Matas and Aguirre were both ministers in his administrations.