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LAYOFF FUND CASE

Prosecutor queries writ naming former Andalusian premiers in ERE fraud case

Move could leave those named defenseless

The Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office plans to question a writ issued earlier this week by the judge investigating the so-called ERE cases that suggests that the former premiers of Andalusia José Antonio Griñán and Manuel Chaves should be named as suspects in her investigation, judicial sources said Friday.

Earlier this week, Judge Mercedes Ayala indicated that there were grounds for Griñán and Chaves to be formally implicated in her probe into alleged fraud committed in a fund set up with public money to help companies lay off workers.

As elected holders of public office, Griñán and Chaves both enjoy parliamentary immunity and it would be up to the Supreme Court to initiate proceedings against them if they declined to forego that immunity.

The judicial sources said the anti-corruption prosecutor has decided to question the writ because the arguments it uses are not well founded and could leave those affected defenseless.

The writ issued by Judge Ayala also paves the way for five former commissioners in the Andalusian government, who are also entitled to parliamentary immunity, to be named as suspects. The writ speaks of “incriminating” factors against the seven people it names.

The Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office says Judge Ayala needed to explain her motives for issuing the writ and detail the offenses that she believes might have been committed.

Judge Ayala’s investigation estimates the extent of the alleged fraud committed over the course of a decade at 136 million euros. Griñán and his predecessor Chaves were in office when the alleged fraud took place.

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