Saturday, March 07, 2015

Financing your kids; Big trial; How it works; Saturdays; Beggars; & Stop.

There's a saying in Spain: Live off your parents until you're old enough to live off your children. I was reminded of it when reading that a judge had told a divorced (Galician) father that his responsibility to fund his 31 year old daughter's life extended until she both decided to work for her living and was successful in getting a job that paid enough. This, it's reported, "is the latest in a series of rulings that have deepened the financial responsibilities of parenthood in a country where children often stay at home long after their peers in other countries have flown the nest." The father is estranged from his daughter but has been told he has to support her at least through both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. But it's the open-ended period after that which really worries him. Needless to say, the Spanish government - which is not big on benefits - is delighted with this ruling.

After a mere 6 years, one of Spain's biggest corruption trials is about to enter another phase. The investigating judge has decided to send 12 of the 40 accused for trial, and sentences of between 6 months and 125 years have been demanded for each of them. This is the list of offences which appeared in a useful matrix in one of our papers, identifying which offences each imputado is accused of. I can't guarantee that the translations are totally accurate - nor how they differ - but you get the picture. No one is accused of all of them . . .
Cohecho - Bribery
Fraude - Fraud
Malversación - Embezzlement
Falsedad de documentación - Falsification of document
Asociación ilicita - Illicit association
Blanqueo de capitales - Money laundering
Tráfico de influencias - Political corruption; graft
Contra la hacienda publica- Tax offences
Prevaricación - Corrupt practices
Delito fiscal - Tax crime
Apropriación indébida - Improper appropriation
Estafa - Fraud

No date for the trial has been set, possibly because there's a general election late this year and many of the accused were prominent in the governing PP party. For an insight of how things work here in democratic, separation-of-powers Spain, click here. Even better is the article cited it in, which contains this (accurate) paragraph:- It is a sign of our times that in Spain’s post-Franco democracy the senior figures of the financial establishment enjoy even greater immunity from the law than they did during Franco’s brutal dictatorship. At least during the dictatorship, wayward bankers occasionally saw the inside of a prison cell. By contrast, today’s senior bankers hardly ever see the inside of a court room. Indeed, the last Spanish judge who tried to punish a senior banker for his frontline role in the country’s financial crisis was expelled from the bench for over 17 years.

Down to earth . . . Ahead of another trip to the UK, I went yesterday to book a slot for a tyre change. When I suggested this afternoon a look of mixed surprise and horror flitted across the man's face. "But it's Saturday" he muttered. "Oh, yes." I said. "Then in the morning". "No, " he replied, "It's Saturday". As if it were as sacred as Sunday. As I guess it is to him and his colleagues. So we agreed on Monday.

One gets used to all the different types of beggar in this wealthy little city and the only ones I've ever found disturbing are the well-dressed middle-class men who sit on the steps of empty shops - more each day - with a placard in front of them. But yesterday there was something worse - a well-dressed middle-aged woman sitting on the steps of a bank. Can things really be so bad? Or is she part of a professional scam? I won't cite a particular nationality but will say she didn't look foreign. (Am I being sexist to see a woman begging as worse than a man? Or is begging an equal opportunity profession?)

Finally . . . Here's a foto of some signage work being done down in Andalucia. 

Not the first time and not the last, I'm sure.

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