POLITICAL CORRUPTION

Ex-minister named in new Gürtel report

Funds allegedly given to Former Public Works chief Francisco Álvarez Cascos for PP campaigns

Francisco Álvarez Cascos outside the High Court in August last year.
Francisco Álvarez Cascos outside the High Court in August last year.uly martín

Former Public Works Minister Francsico Álvarez Cascos reportedly received at least 41,000 euros in kickbacks from the Gürtel corrupt businessmen’s network between 2003 and 2004, Europa Press reported on Monday.

The news agency quoted information that was contained in a new report from the UDEF financial crimes squad and that was turned over to a Madrid judge, who is investigating alleged Gürtel ringleader Francisco Correa.

Correa, who is out on bail as he awaits trial, is said to have been the mastermind of a group of prominent businessmen who received fat contracts from Popular Party (PP) regional and local governments in exchange for kickbacks.

In the new documents, police said that Cascos’ initials appear on secret accounting ledgers related to the receipt of funds that went to PP campaigns in 2003 and 2004.

The funds were allegedly given to an advertising firm called Rialgreen SL, which was supposed to help put together electoral campaigns for the PP. According to the information, Rialgreen billed the PP some 3 million euros, which was later passed out to at least three persons, one of them identified only by the initials P. A. C.

Ex-treasurer

Investigators believe that this refers to Francisco “Paco” Álvarez Cascos. The other two beneficiaries are identified as Asian Deluxe Group and José Luis Roig Gallego.

Another allotment of cash was also split between P. A. C., former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas and ex-PP Madrid lawmakers Jesús Sepulveda and Jesús Merino, as well as Correa.

In secret recordings that were given to investigators by José Luis Peñas, a former PP commissioner in Madrid, Correa reportedly stated that he had to turn over large amounts of money to Bárcenas that came from “bids won at the Public Works Ministry, when Cascos was chief,” from 2000-2004.

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