The mayor of Ourense, Gonzalo Pérez Jácome, has appeared this Tuesday before the head of the Investigative Court 2 of the city, accused of a crime of embezzlement. The councilor has had to clarify the destination of almost 100,000 euros, an amount that the Prosecutor’s Office believes that it distracted from the municipal accounts. The public ministry, which has sued him, maintains that during his years in the opposition the current mayor diverted items from the municipal group to his name and entered the Auria TV television, of which he owns, various checks with the appearance of expenses of publicity and propaganda corresponding to Democracia Ourensana (DO), the party created by him and a group of friends in 2001 around that same channel. From there, with jokes and insults towards the then president of the Provincial Council and the PP, José Manuel Baltar, Jácome was fired. He went to the last municipal elections with the promise of ending the Baltar saga. Far from it, he ended up perpetuating it in the Diputación, which the family lost for the first time in three decades, in exchange for being given the mayor’s office despite having been the third force.
Jácome, known for his eccentricities and for the back and forth of a mandate to which he clung after facing almost all his councilors until he ended up governing with a single mayor of a corporation of 27, has defended that allocating the money of the municipal group to their businesses is “Legal and ethical”. “What we do is the ideal; the political party has money and must spend it in the best way, “he says. And his television is, he explains, “the one that makes the best offer for the price paid.”
The councilor of the third city of Galicia, and undisputed leader of DO, which revolves around his person, recognizes the uniqueness of his businesses and his political activity. “Those of us who form DO believe that the most convenient thing is to spend the money where we consider it most profitable, which is Auria TV. We did it, we do it and we will continue to do it ”, he settled any doubts in this regard last October when he learned that the Prosecutor’s Office had filed the complaint against him.
In his opinion, it is absolutely legal and ethical for him, as an entrepreneur, to negotiate advertising rates with himself in his capacity as a politician. “Where is it written that it is illegal for me to have a television and to charge anyone who wants to hire me for those services?” He said when the Prosecutor’s Office filed the complaint.
This is how he has defended it again this Tuesday in court, noting that “all training expenses are duly justified” and “there is no basis whatsoever” to maintain the accusation. After giving a statement for two hours before the magistrate and in the absence of the Prosecutor’s Office, Jácome once again defended before the media the legality of his management at the head of DO and expressed his conviction that the complaint will have no further travel. “All expenses are justified. Our party has expenses like all political parties; an invoice is delivered, period. They are beans counted ”, he explained.
Upon leaving the judicial headquarters, Jácome uploaded an image of some weights to his Twitter account and wrote: “With zero concern for anonymous complaint, without basis, today I have clarified various questions in court. Immediately afterwards, and since I work all afternoon today, when I left I took the opportunity to stop at the public Pabellón de los Remedios, to do some squats and whatever fits … ”. He then showed with another tweet how the accusation is taken as a joke: “Netflix will be inspired by the plot that wanted to defeat me in 2020, to make a world series in 2022, with Bruce Willis as the mayor of Las Burgas,” he wrote.
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The events that are imputed to him date back to the years 2015-2019. The Prosecutor’s Office also maintains that, being in the opposition, it withdrew by checks to its name the money that the City Council transferred to the account of the municipal group of DO. Money that does not appear in the party’s accounting. And to this is added the complaint filed by former colleagues who ended up leaving the municipal group and the party, who accuse him of appropriating last year more than 259,000 euros of subsidies from the City Council and the Provincial Council for DO.
But he is calm. To show that he is not concerned about the imputation of embezzlement of public funds, a crime for which prison sentences are contemplated, the mayor referred to the summons set for this December 28, the day of the Holy Innocents, making a mockery: “I hope that Do not take my statement as an innocent ”.
Despite the joke, Jácome appealed to the Provincial Court for the admission of the prosecution’s complaint. The magistrates dismissed his appeal, highlighting that the facts that are the subject of the complaint “have a punishable appearance that must be investigated by the investigating court.” In addition, they highlighted as “exemplary of the test principle” two withdrawals of money from the account of the municipal group DO for an amount of 20,000 euros in 2016, and 30,000 euros in 2018, as well as the “application of the allocations destined to the operation of the group municipal to the payment of four checks to a society”.
The magistrates of room two of the Provincial Court point out that the numbering of the checks, the dates and the amount of each one are specified in the complaint and they understand that the investigating judge must investigate whether the funds from the subsidies assigned to the municipal group Democracia Ourensana between 2015 and 2018 have been distracted from its public application.
The chief prosecutor of Ourense, Eva Regueiro, filed the complaint against the current mayor after receiving an anonymous complaint and investigating it for a year. As soon as he learned of it, Jácome suggested that the investigation was politically motivated. “If the party has put you there, it is clear that you are not going to go against the party,” he concluded.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.