CORRUPTION IN SPAIN
Here's a commentary on the Caso Blasco by a Spanish observer:
If all cases of corruption are inherently repulsive, that of Rafael Blasco, the politician who has ruled and who has had most influence in Valencia for more than 30 years, and who on Wednesday was sentenced by the Valencian High Court to 8 years in prison for embezzlement of public funds, influence peddling, breach of trust and falsifying official administrative documents is particularly repulsive.
Especially repulsive because it was, according to the Court, the head of an organised racket that ransacked economic international cooperation funds, funds that should have been directed to set up a food plan and build water wells in Nicaragua as well as the installation of a hospital in Haiti after the earthquake. The latter case will be judged next week. And especially repulsive because, when he controlled this looting, he was responsible for development aid as a director of Solidaridad.
Repulsive because corruption in politics is morally and ethically repulsive. Repulsive because we are talking about a politician who began as a supporter of FRAP (The Antifascist and Revolutionary Patriotic Front), a terrorist organisation, and ended as a Popular Party henchman, first to Eduardo Zaplana first and, later, to Francisco Camps, then joined the PSOE, developing a close collaboration with the socialist president Joan Lerma.
The judgment considers it proved that Blasco, ex-spokesman and ex-counsellor of the Popular Party in the Valencian Parliament, ran the grants procedure and pressured officials. And that, if there were resistance, he replaced people with those he could trust to, in violation of the laws, grant subventions to a foundation run by the fraudsters, which were then used to make numerous property developments. The decision is the first piece in the Cooperation case, a macro-case which has several separate elements
In the first of these elements, there will be an investigation of irregularities in awarding grants by the defunct Cyes Foundation in 2008, which received €1.6m for 2 projects in Nicaragua, of which only €43,000 arrived at their destination, with the rest going on the purchase of properties in Valencia as well on the payment of 400,000 to a businessman, Augusto César Tauroni, considered to be one of the leaders of the fraud.
The Division of Criminal and Civil Superior Court of Justice of the Valencian Community (TSJCV ) considers the ex-counsellor, Rafael Blasco "director" of the fraud, who diverted public funds meant for International Cooperation, acting in concert with businessman Augusto César Tauroni, who has also been sentenced to 8 years in prison, while the other 7 defendants will have to serve 3 to 4 years in prisons.
Finally, to get an indication of the moral standing of the Valencian politician, who has not yet resigned from the regional parliament attached to the mixed group (the third largest parliamentary group formed by office-holders of Valencian PP prosecuted for corruption), you have to listen to the recordings made by police during the investigations, in which one hears the gang members refer to countries earmarked for public funds as "Negrolandia " and stating flatly: "We must give priority to ourselves ahead of the niggers."