Tax fraud added to list of Gürtel ring sins

New case relates to contract awarded for pope’s visit to Valencia in 2006

Spain’s High Court on Wednesday opened a parallel tax fraud case linked to the pope’s visit to Valencia in 2006 to the ongoing prosecution of the Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts corruption ring.

The alleged fraud case relates to a seven-million-euro contract awarded to Gürtel front company Teconsa to set up television screens and loudspeakers along the route taken by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Valencia. Construction firm Teconsa made a profit of some three million euros from the contract, which was awarded by the regional television station.

Judge Pablo Ruz implicated 11 people in the case, including the chairman of Teconsa, José Luis Martínez Núñez, and its deputy chairman, José Luis Martínez Parra, along with other members of its board of directors. They also face possible charges of falsifying commercial documents. The actual cost of the installation work was only 3.2 million euros.

The judge’s decision to open another front in the labyrinth of Gürtel’s suspect business affairs came after it was alerted by the Tax Agency that it suspected corporate and value-added tax fraud worth 600,000 euros on the profits Teconsa made on the contract.

Judge Ruz on Wednesday also opened yet another Gürtel related case in connection with contracts awarded by the state airport operator AENA.

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