The Barcelona Court has agreed to the prison of the former mayor of Sabadell (Barcelona), the socialist Manuel Bustos, to serve his second sentence of the “Mercurio case”, which adds up to three years in prison, for ordering the local police to withdraw fines to their relatives.
In a car, which can be appealed, the tenth section of the Hearing refuses to suspend Bustos’ admission to prison, as his defense had requested, and gives him one month to enter a penitentiary of his choice.
Bustos has another firm sentence of one year and nine months in jail – which was suspended – for using his influence over a socialist mayor to place a former high-ranking tripartite official, a case for which the former number two was also convicted. from PSC Daniel Fernández.
As a result of the so-called “Mercurio case”, of alleged urban corruption with an epicenter in the Sabadell City Council, the former mayor, who left office in 2013, was also convicted as responsible for profit in a piece on misappropriation of funds, and is a trial step in another two.
In its order, the Court considers that in Bustos there are no “exceptional personal circumstances” that justify the suspension of his second sentence and asks his defense, who argues that withdrawing two fines is not a crime of corruption, that they should not be “trivialized ” the facts”.
In this sense, the court emphasizes that the influence peddling for which Bustos was convicted “is framed within the crimes of corruption” and that, although the economic benefit he obtained was “insignificant”, his conduct “was a gratuitous discredit for the public administration “caused” precisely by the authority with the highest rank at the municipal level.
The court is also not convinced by the arguments of the defense that Bustos must maintain his work activity and family stability because he is the father of three children aged 11, 27 and 32, one of them disabled, and suffers from an illness, certified in a document that it has been brought into the room in a sealed envelope.
For the judges, the health situation does not justify suspending his sentence: “Without a doubt the prison environment may not be the best place to cure diseases, however, this does not mean that penitentiary institutions do not have strong support from medical assistance to treat all kinds of ailments “.
Regarding their economic and family situation, the court recalls that the three children of Bustos have their mother to provide them with care and financial support and that, in due course, the effects of their entry into prison may be “mitigated” with future progressions of degree and probation.
“The entry into prison can undoubtedly be a family and economic disaster, but it is not an exceptional circumstance that in this case should be considered with special emphasis, quite the contrary, it is the normal situation that entry may entail. in prison of any person “, adds the order.
Due to the withdrawal of the two fines from his relatives in 2012, when he was mayor of Sabadell, the Court convicted Bustos of two crimes of influence peddling and imposed 15 months in jail and 11 months of disqualification from public office on the former mayor of the Local Police that had annulled the sanctions.
Once the sentence was final, both the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the popular accusation exercised by the platform “Sabadell Lliure de Corrupció” supported the ex-mayor’s entry into prison, while the City Council -particular accusation in the case and now governed by PSC and Podem- He did not speak out in any way, as he was unable to agree on his position with the opposition parties.