Monday, July 28, 2014

Corruption problem; To pardon or not to pardon; Hurting Putin; & A sudden collapse.

The issue of corruption in Spain creates a quandary; how much of it to report or even just cite? For there's so much of it it could easily justify a separate blog. Indeed, there is one - El Espía en el Congreso. Last week, for example, we had the ex-President of Cataluña apologising for keeping €4m in a bank in next-door Andorra without telling the Spanish tax authorities about it. But that's not all, it seems. It's suggested that many years as the leading Catalan politician allowed him to accumulate 5-6 hundred million euros (yes, €5-600m!) in other offshore accounts. And on the day he said sorry for the lesser offence, his son resigned from political office because of accusations of corruption. This apple obviously didn't fall very far from the tree. And then there's the Malaya case down in Marbella - long a hotbed of corruption - where virtually every politician and local planning officer was involved in a humongous web of plunder totalling €2.4 billion. Same thing on a much smaller scale in Sanxenxo, just along the coast from Pontevedra. Anyway, the obvious question is - Although no one could resist temptation during the boom years, has the carousel of arrests, prosecutions and prison sentences stopped the rot? Or are politicians still gambling on the chances they won't be the ones to be caught? As with the folk who park their cars illegally in town. I guess we will see in a few years time. 

Meanwhile, as I've said, the most relevant question is - Which of the guilty will immediately be pardoned by the government and so allowed to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. Possibly after making an illegal contribution to the party's black-money coffers.

One person we know who's not going to get any sort of pardon is the left-wing celebrity lawyer, Báltasar Garzón. He's so upset the judiciary and political hierarchies that there's no chance the government will reduce or reverse the sentence that barred him from his main job.

Here's one way to get back at Putin - Buy Moldavian wine. Not in Spain or France, of course, where you'll never find it. But look out for it in the UK. Why? Because, in a fit of vindictive pique, Putin's banned the import of Moldavia's wine into Russia, after the country declined to join the Russian equivalent of the EU. This despite the fact Putin owns his own cellar in the country and held his 50th birthday party there. Nasty little man.

Finally . . . There was a lot of excitement down in Vegetables Square a few days ago. The interior of one of the old houses that border it collapsed and the facade had to be shored up, disrupting the layout of the Sunday flea market. My guess is that it'll be years before anything is done to restore the house. This seems to be the way of things in the old quarter. Which is a shame.

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