Fernández Díaz, a former minister at the “vertex” of the plot Kitchen | Spain

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Former Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz, in April 2017, when he had to appear in the commission of investigation of the so-called 'patriotic police'.
Former Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz, in April 2017, when he had to appear in the commission of investigation of the so-called ‘patriotic police’.Jaime Villanueva

The order by which the judge of the National Court Manuel García-Castellón proposed, on July 29, to send to the bench the political and police leadership of the Ministry of the Interior of the first Government of Mariano Rajoy (2011-2015) for espionage Illegal PP former treasurer Luis Bárcenas placed former minister Jorge Fernández Díaz at “the apex of the chain that ordered the start-up” of that operation. The magistrate stressed that it had been the politician who had given “specific orders” to the one who was his number two in the ministry, Francisco Martínez, to give “priority” to what would finally receive the name of Operation Kitchen, launched in the summer of 2013. “The ascendancy [de ambos] on higher ranking police officers [junto a ellos hay otras nueve personas implicadas, seis de ellos comisarios] who carried out the operation is evident and vertebra [el espionaje a Bárcenas], from the ideation to the authorization of the material expenses that allowed it to materialize “, adds the magistrate before underlining that” the intervention of the highest governmental officials of the ministry is reliably verified “.

The categorical accusations against Fernández Díaz that the judge included in his judicial decision (which is not yet final, since it has been appealed by the defenses and the accusations) was based mainly on the testimony of the one who was his right hand for years , the former Secretary of State for Security Francisco Martínez and, above all, in the battery of mobile messages that Fernández Díaz had allegedly sent to his subordinate and that he protocolized before two notaries in 2019, when he began to fear his accusation in the caso Kitchen, as it finally happened. Those SMS, exchanged at key moments of the clandestine operation, supposedly show that the former minister was aware of the espionage on Bárcenas.

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One of them read: “Driver B. Sergio Javier Ríos Esgueva (now he performs that role with his wife)”, referring to the driver contacted by the plot to spy on the former treasurer and his wife, Rosalía Iglesias. In another, it was indicated that “the operation was carried out successfully. Everything has been overturned (2 iPhone and an iPad) ”, alluding to the theft of the phones of Bárcenas and his partner to access their content, one of the actions without judicial control of Operation Kitchen that some officials involved have admitted. However, in his statements before the judge and in the confrontation in the National Court that he maintained with Martínez, the former minister repeatedly denied that these messages were his.

During his statement as a defendant before García-Castellón, on October 30 of last year, the politician reiterated that he never started Operation Kitchen and that he learned of its existence from the press. To do this, he did not hesitate to call the version of his subordinate false, who had assured the magistrate that his boss was aware of the operation and that it was even he who telephoned him one weekend to speak to him for the first time about the operation. Bárcenas’ driver, whom the police plot had captured as a confidant. Fernández Díaz’s insistence on denying everything led the judge to blurt out: “You didn’t know anything about it.”

During that testimony, the former minister also made an effort to ensure that the judicial investigation did not reach other members of the Government of Mariano Rajoy or the leadership of the PP. To do this, he insisted on several occasions that no one outside the ministry contacted him to inquire about the operation and no one gave him any instructions in this regard. In fact, he stressed that the only one who could propose a follow-up deployment to Bárcenas was the then Prime Minister. But Mariano Rajoy, according to his version, never did. Neither from the leadership of the PP was told anything.

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When asked about the diversion of funds reserved to pay espionage expenses, including a monthly amount to Bárcenas’ driver, Fernández Díaz pointed out to his former number two as the person in charge of the control of this game in which, he added, he did not participate. The former minister also took refuge in the fact that the alleged documentation that was intended to be taken away from the former treasury of the PP did not affect or harm him and recalls that his name “never” appeared in the so-called Bárcenas papers, which reflected the existence of a box b in his party.

Fernández Díaz also alleged that, throughout the judicial investigation into the espionage of Bárcenas, his name had not appeared in any police report or in the audios intervened on retired commissioner José Manuel Villarejo, a prominent member of the plot. Regarding his relationship with this policeman, the former minister only admitted to having greeted him twice. One, in 2012, before Operation Kitchen was launched. The second, in 2016, when it had already finished.

However, Francisco Martínez – with whom he maintained a tense confrontation before the judge – had stated in the National Court that, when he arrived at the Interior, first as the minister’s chief of staff, he began to have a fluid relationship with Villarejo because that is how he knew it. his boss had asked. In addition, the former Deputy Director of Operations (DAO) of the Police, Commissioner Eugenio Pino, designated as the alleged thief of the plot, related in one of his statements before the judge that the former minister even tried to intercede in favor of Villarejo and he told him that Rajoy had informed him that the commissioner was being treated badly.

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During the congressional commission of inquiry, two other testimonies from those implicated have pointed to Fernández Díaz. The retired commissioner Enrique García Castaño, who collaborates with the judge, told the deputies that, “of course,” the former minister was aware of the espionage of Bárcenas. And, even, that it was this and his ex number two who supposedly ordered that Villarejo participate in the operation. The latter also pointed to the former minister when he appeared in Parliament. Villarejo affirmed that while he participated in Operation Kitchen he “directly reported” his progress to the Secretary of State for Security and to Fernández Díaz, although in the case of the latter he added that it was “punctually, very little.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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