corruption probe

Valencia mayor and ex-regional chief Camps dragged into Nóos case

Urdangarin tells judge how he got big contracts from Barberá and Camps PP pair accused of sidestepping bidding process

Iñaki Urdangarin is flanked by Valencia Mayor Rita Barberá (l) and then regional premier, Francisco Camps at the opening of the Valencia Summit sporting congress.
Iñaki Urdangarin is flanked by Valencia Mayor Rita Barberá (l) and then regional premier, Francisco Camps at the opening of the Valencia Summit sporting congress.J.C.CARDENAS

Valencia's former regional chief, Francisco Camps, and current city Mayor Rita Barberá could be dragged into the ongoing investigation of the Nóos Institute based on a statement given to a judge by royal-son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin.

On February 23, Urdangarin told the investigative judge in the case, José Castro, that all the contracts his Nóos Institute obtained were won after holding meetings with Camps and Barberá, according to his statement which by EL PAÍS has obtained.

"I met with Francisco Camps in Valencia. There was this idea about hosting the European Games and I explained to him that we could do it, if there was a chance that we could get them. That is all that happened," Urdangarin said.

The Duke of Palma, who is under inquiry for the diversion of public money from Balearic Islands and Valencia governments, said that he couldn't remember the dates of the meeting, but soon after he won the contract. Valencia failed in its bid to host the European Games but the regional government ended up shelling out some 382,000 euros to Urdangarin's Nóos Institute.

These contracts were nothing more than an arbitrary way to benefit the Nóos Institute"

He held a similar meeting with Mayor Barberá to discuss organizing the so-called Valencia Summit.

"There were meetings with the mayor and with Mr Camps to explain the project. The one with the mayor was at a lunch, but I cannot recall. And the one held with Camps was held in his office. We explained how the America's Cup was a major event and proposed holding a forum with people from different sports field who could share their experiences," Urdangarin said.

In a ruling handed down in January, Judge Castro accepted the anticorruption prosecutor's argument that the contracts signed with the Valencia regional and city governments "were nothing more than an arbitrary way [...] through a total abuse of power to benefit the Nóos Institute and one of its illustrious members, Mr Urdangarin."

He also accused both governments of "overt violations" of the law, and "blatantly sidestepping a public bidding or negotiation process."

If Castro decides to call in Barberá or Camps, he will have to recuse himself in the case and hand it over to the Supreme Court because they still serve as elected officials.

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