The Valencia branch of the Popular Party (PP) routinely paid the corrupt Gürtel business network under the table for the organization of political rallies, a police investigation shows.
As much as 80 percent of the money billed for these and other events was paid in cash “outside the legal economic circuit and ended up in the organization’s parallel accounts,” according to the personal agenda of Pablo Crespo, the number two man in Gürtel, a major kickbacks-for-contracts scheme involving a network of businesses that worked with PP-run governments at a national and regional level.
The agenda reveals payment methods for events such as the 2007 coverage of the pope's visit to Valencia.
Gürtel’s ringleader, Francisco Correa, cultivated personal relationships with PP officials and offered them gifts to secure hefty contracts for his companies. Many of the worst abuses took place in Madrid and the Valencia region, according to an ongoing investigation that first made headlines in 2009.
“The annotations in the agenda prove that Pablo was aware of, accepted and even requested this form of payment from the [PP] for its event organization,” reads the report by the National Police's special Economic and Fiscal Crimes Unit (UDEF). The report has been sent to examining Judge Pablo Ruz, who is heading the Gürtel case at the High Court.
The Valencia offshoot of the corruption case is being investigated by the Valencia regional High Court, making it likely that this body will also get a copy of the report.
Another report now in Ruz’s hands deals with a separate set of documents kept by another Gürtel member. This paperwork includes many files classified as “swindles” and detailing the organization of political and electoral rallies for the PP in 2003 and 2004.