Arturo González Panero, mayor of Boadilla del Monte (Madrid) between 1999 and 2009 and known as El Albondiguilla, has removed the artillery this Tuesday in the third trial of the PP by Gürtel. The ex-mayor, who faces a request from the Prosecutor’s Office for more than 40 years in prison, has pointed directly to the governments of José María Aznar when describing the enormous influence of Francisco Correa, leader of the plot, within the party. “We received calls from Moncloa to suggest things to us about the City Council,” declared the defendant González Panero in the National Court.
The fourth session of the trial on Gürtel’s businesses in Boadilla, which once again puts the PP on the bench for benefiting from the corrupt network, has served to listen to the last of the 17 defendants who have admitted the prosecution’s account of events —The interrogations of the other seven defendants, which challenge the thesis of the public prosecutor, are also scheduled for this week. After the main parties involved recognized their participation in the plot in the first days, the turn has come to González Panero this Tuesday: “I consented to the favorable treatment of the Correa Group in exchange for receiving commissions,” the ex-governor confessed in a letter sent to court earlier in the month.
The former mayor has maintained that line before the judges on Tuesday, but has shot upwards when describing the landing of the plot in Boadilla with his collusion. The Albondiguilla has assured that he met Correa when he came to power after a grotesque motion of censure in which he snatched the baton from a comrade of the PP itself by allying himself with four party councilors and four other independents. “[A Correa] José Galeote introduced it to me, [edil del municipio durante 12 años]. He told me that he had a lot of ancestry in the PP, which organized all the events. And that, facing the next elections, we would need a person who could help us and influence us ”.
“I found that he had a lot of ancestry. From the first meal, he gave us a lot of data, “said Panero, who has denied that Correa’s influence in the party was mere” bravado “by the businessman. “I met him at the Hotel Fénix and once Mr. Alejandro Agag appeared, [yerno de Aznar]. On another occasion, also Rodrigo Rato ”, has given as an example. In addition, he has detailed direct interventions from the popular government: “We received calls from Moncloa to suggest things to us about the City Council. In this case, not awards, but appointments. Or, for example, in a bill of street cleaning, we were told that to collect garbage only for three days in urbanizations, to put it seven days. That was not done, he put four. But Correa had told me that it had to be done like this and that, if it was not done, they would call me to send it to me ”.
The former mayor explained that Correa entered the party’s national headquarters “without the need for accreditation,” when they even asked him, despite the fact that he was a councilor and a member of the leadership of the regional formation. He added that Antonio Cámara, Aznar’s personal secretary, telephoned him to put Alfonso Bosch in charge of the Municipal Housing and Land Company (EMVS), from where he would facilitate the business of the corrupt network. Cámara came to work for a few months for one of Correa’s companies, Special Events, after the PP lost La Moncloa in 2004. Bosch, who was also a councilor for El Escorial, mediated to organize the wedding of the former president’s daughter with Agag.
The Albondiguilla has also influenced that part of the bites that were distributed were destined to pay for acts of the PP. “Correa told us that an amount had to go to the Popular Party. He did not say to the PP at the Boadilla level, but to the Popular Party ”. “This was done according to the indications and instructions received from the regional and national leadership of the PP,” he had already underlined in his confession letter.
Despite the fact that the ex-mayor has insisted on his “repentance”, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office has been skeptical about his collaboration and has reproached him for not having compensated the economic damage caused. “I live with my parents, I have not been able to work in all these years, I do not have funds of any kind …”, González Panero has excused himself. Then, the public ministry has reminded him that in 2009, after the Gürtel case broke out, he paid 70,000 euros to cancel a mortgage.
“I have Panero caught by the eggs”
The fourth session of the trial began with the interrogations of Javier Nombela and Isabel Jordán, two of the Correa companies’ workers and sentenced respectively to more than 4 years and 22 years in prison for other derivatives of Gürtel. Both have thus supported the accusations of Anti-Corruption. Jordán’s story has been particularly rich in detail, since she became one of those in charge of the landing at Boadilla del Monte.
The former employee has related a dinner between Correa; its then number two, Pablo Crespo; and the heads of the Municipal Land and Housing Company (EMSV), César Tomás Martín Morales and Alfonso Bosch, placed by González Panero. “Apart from talking about campaign issues, they talked about the list of candidates to present in those 2007 elections,” said Jordán, who has specified the different maneuvers to fix contracts. “Correa told me: ‘We are going to be able to have all the Boadilla contracts that I want. They are going to award them all to me. I have Panero caught by the eggs. ‘ And he explained to me that there was a video where he saw himself counting money to Panero ”.
Among other corruption, as Correa’s ex-worker has insisted, the plot overcharged the EMSV to pay for events organized for the conservative party. What’s more, he stressed that Bosch, who was also a former popular deputy, was perfectly aware of this way of acting, despite the fact that he denied it last week. “He knew that these amounts were getting into the bills,” he repeated, before narrating the “gifts” they gave to the mayor of Boadilla. “In 2005 and 2006 he was given some Christmas baskets. And, facing Christmas 2007, I spoke with González Panero and he told me: ‘Within what you can, [en lugar de una cesta], if it can be something better. ‘ I said, ‘Well, tell me what.’ And he replied: ‘Man, well, clothes are good for me ”. He also added that they gave him a plasma television.
—And how did they get the officials to agree? [a sus pretensiones]? – the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office has inquired.
—I was not present … I understand that González Panero gave an order to his councilors or whoever it was. And that was like that because they welcomed us, ”Jordán replied.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.