Public prosecutor pursues judge for sending former banker to jail

Elpidio José Silva Pacheco is accused of illegal detention and malpractice

Judge Elpidio José Silva.
Judge Elpidio José Silva. EFE

The prosecutor's office has taken legal action against the judge who ordered the former chairman of Caja Madrid, Miguel Blesa, to be held in preventive custody in connection with an investigation into the savings bank's purchase of a US lender, judiciary sources said Friday.

The prosecutor has accused Judge Elpidio José Silva Pacheco of repeatedly breaching his professional obligations and of "malicious delay in the administration of justice," as well as illegally depriving Blesa of his freedom.

Silva ordered Blesa to be sent to jail twice in connection with alleged irregularities in Caja Madrid's purchase of Florida City National Bank. The first time Blesa was freed after posting bailout of 2.5 million euros. On the second occasion Silva sent Blesa to jail without the possibility of bail after determining he was a flight risk.

The complaint, dated July 12, was sent to the Madrid regional High Court and signed by chief prosecutor Manuel Moix Blázquez. It requests that statements be taken from Silva and Blesa and from Blesa's lawyer, Carlos Aguilar Fernández.

The prosecutor believes Silva's decision to send Blesa to jail was unfounded as its was based solely on the petition of right-wing pressure group Manos Limpias, which is acting as a private prosecutor in the case. Moix Blázquez claims the group has not sustained its right to take on that role, which Manos Limpias rejects. He also alleges Silva had failed to establish that Blesa represented a flight risk.

The accusation of "malicious delay" is based on Silva's failure to act in due course to objections filed against him handling the case, and appeals lodged against his decisions.

Aguilar said the action taken by the prosecutor "shows that the decisions taken by Silva were unfair from the start. Blesa suffered persecution and the action against him was clearly illegal and unjustified."

The disciplinary committee of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), the body that oversees jurisdiction in Spain, has requested that Silva be suspended for over four months for dereliction of his duties in cases he handled prior to that of Blesa.

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