The magistrate Juan Rollán, head of the Court of Instruction Number 2 of Salamanca, has imputed the PP of Salamanca as a legal person, its president, Francisco Javier Iglesias, and the manager, María Isabel Sánchez, in a case in which the alleged illegal financing of training during the primary process in 2017 won by the current president of the Junta de Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco. The magistrate has summoned them to testify as being investigated – a figure equivalent to that of the accused – on December 30 after finding “rational evidence” of the alleged commission of a crime of illegal party financing. The instructor considers that the training affiliate fees were paid with 24,140 euros “without justification” and qualifies it as an “illegal anonymous donation”.
After hearing the accusation, the Popular Party of Salamanca has insisted through a statement that all its positions have always respected current legislation and have expressed their “total and absolute willingness to collaborate with justice.” The Salamanca formation has recalled that the summons to declare as investigated “does not imply a statement of guilt, nor the firm accusation of any criminal conduct.” The president of the Junta de Castilla y León has assured this Wednesday in Valladolid that his party offers the “maximum collaboration with justice” and has referred to the statement of the PP of Salamanca. The national PP has also referred to the Salamanca PP statement, like Mañueco this morning.
The investigating court investigates how about 61,900 euros were collected and they paid pending fees of 4,900 members in the province of Salamanca so that they had the right to vote in an internal process held in March 2017 and to which Mañueco, then mayor of Salamanca, presented himself. In the car of this Wednesday, the magistrate details that the manager of the training in Salamanca certified that between December 31, 2016 and March 17, 2017 a debt of 61,937 euros was amortized through different income mechanisms banking. An item of 41,490 euros stands out, which was paid through the contribution of “elected officials, trusted personnel and affiliates who voluntarily collaborated” in the payment of the fees of “delinquent affiliates” and within that amount is included, according to the order, 24,140 euros whose contribution “remains unjustified” and which the magistrate classifies as an “illegal anonymous donation”. Anonymous donations to political parties are prohibited in article 5 of Organic Law 8/2007 on financing of political parties.
The PP of Salamanca has defended that the payment of third-party debts “is expressly permitted by our Civil Code, and its adjustment to the law in the case of the Popular Party of Salamanca has already been endorsed by the Provincial Court of Salamanca itself.”
The Prosecutor’s Office had expressed doubts about how this money had come in an “altruistic” way to cover the amounts owed by hundreds of supporters. By updating their accounts and catching up, they were given the right to vote for the March 2017 primaries, in which the Salamanca-born Mañueco obtained two-thirds of the support and surpassed his competitor, Antonio Silván, councilor in León. The complaint came to court with the fictitious name of Andrés Sánchez Santa Mónica, and assured that there was an organized plot to facilitate that the followers of the PP of Salamanca could opt for Mañueco. The letter assured that “the supposed donations”, which within the party ironically called “revolutionary tax”, were made “in cash and without a document, invoice or written acknowledgment of receipt.” The cause was shelved in full negotiations of PP and Ciudadanos to form a government in Castilla y León, but was reopened by the Provincial Court in June 2020.
The public prosecutor considered in a previous phase of the investigation that the investigation into this alleged illegal financing had shown that there was no record of who contributed the money or in what amounts, as there were no documents to support it. The association Los Verdes de Salamanca, represented as a popular accusation, has celebrated the imputation of the representatives of the PP. His spokesman, Ángel Gamazo, has assured that “in view of the tremendous inconsistencies” the Prosecutor’s Office has appreciated these “obvious contradictions” and has forced the instructor to summon them to testify. Gamazo has advanced that they have requested the appearance of Mañueco himself “since the assembly was made for him and we want him to clarify it” and of the current mayor of Salamanca, the also popular Carlos García Carbayo.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.