Supreme Court dismisses case against former Cabinet minister

Ex-Public Works chief José Blanco alleged to have helped friend secure building licenses

Former Cabinet minister José Blanco during a press conference on Thursday.
Former Cabinet minister José Blanco during a press conference on Thursday.Kiko Huesca (EFE)

The Supreme Court has dismissed a case against former Socialist Cabinet minister José Blanco for influence-peddling in the awarding of a license to a businessman friend of his.

The Court’s criminal section accepted the appeal lodged by Blanco’s defense and said there were no indications of criminal behavior by the former public works minister and veteran official of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE).

“To mediate in order to arrange an interview between a mayor and an individual representing business interests, without suggesting or offering an alteration of the resolution,” does not constitute a wrongful use of one’s influence, the court ruled, in a decision that is final.

Blanco was being investigated for allegedly helping his friend José Antonio Orozco secure licenses to build an industrial warehouse near El Prat airport in Barcelona.

The investigation began in late 2011 and the investigating judge, José Ramón Soriano, had posited that Blanco “interceded” through third parties to get the mayor of Sant Boi de Llobregat (Barcelona) to grant a license to Azkar, a company whose vice-president is Blanco’s “personal friend” Orozco, “without need for alterations to the project, which saved him significant disbursements.”

Soriano added that Blanco’s government position at the time “created great pressure” on the mayor.

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