Gürtel corruption ring bought PP officials with 500 euro bills

Police discover that Francisco Correa's cohorts paid off politicians for contracts

A strip of paper found in a file kept by the Gürtel corruption network's accountant shows how the criminal enterprise paid Popular Party officials in 500 euro bills, "the first phase in money laundering," according to a police report to which EL PAÍS has had access.

The same report details how the Gürtel ring, led by jailed businessman Francisco Correa, paid an illegal three-percent commission to construction company Teconsa for at least three public building works awarded by the PP-run regional government of Castilla y León. Teconsa's tax history, says the police report, shows that between 2003 and 2007 the company drew out more than 5 million euros in 500 euro bills, which was later distributed among PP officials by Correa.

The papers seized by police also show that the Gürtel accountant amassed the exact worth of the three-percent commission on the contract awarded to Teconsa to build a turnoff in Villanueva de Mena, a project worth 5.8 billion euros.

Also detailed in the investigation is Teconsa's involvement in a multi-million-euro scam surrounding the pope's visit to Valencia in 2006. The Valencia regional public television network awarded Teconsa a contract worth 7 million euros to erect giant screens in the city's streets. Lacking the necessary experience to complete the task, Teconsa subcontracted the job for 3.5 million euros and shared the remainder with Correa.

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