The ‘Kitchen commission’ evidences the historical relationship of Judge Enrique López with the PP | Spain

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The Minister of the Presidency, Justice and the Interior of the Community of Madrid, Enrique López, in his appearance in the investigation commission of the operation 'Kitchen' of the Congress of Deputies, on November 17.
The Minister of the Presidency, Justice and the Interior of the Community of Madrid, Enrique López, in his appearance in the investigation commission of the operation ‘Kitchen’ of the Congress of Deputies, on November 17.RRF (Europa Press)

Friends or acquaintances? Interested mediation or casual contact? The session this Wednesday of the parliamentary commission of investigation of Operation Kitchen, on an illegal plot mounted by the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of the PP to cover up scandals of that party, focused on the practice for several hours in trying to find out why The then judge of the National Court, Enrique López, and today a prominent popular politician in the Community of Madrid, introduced a businessman who was a friend of his and Luis Bárcenas to the lawyer who was leading his case in that party. There was no occasion despite the fact that the question was asked about twenty times in different formats. It was not possible to clarify the reason for that meeting or that mediation produced in 2016 by the now Minister of the Presidency, Justice and Interior of the popular Isabel Díaz Ayuso when the Bárcenas case had already been open for several years and the national ex-treasurer of the PP was accused, but free, awaiting trial.

Enrique López appeared in the congressional commission of inquiry and was harshly questioned by various spokesmen. Then he acknowledged that he felt quite uncomfortable and that was the feeling he transmitted in the room. Especially during the interrogation that ERC spokesman Gabriel Rufián subjected him to, who threatened him with taking legal action based on article 500.3 of the Penal Code, which obliges him not to lie in this type of commission.

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Felipe Sicilia, spokesman for the PSOE, was the one who had the most influence in trying to find out why a judge in office then at the head of section II of the National Court like Enrique López, with good connections with the PP and judicial positions proposed by that party since 20 years ago, he “put” his friend the businessman Jesús de Diego in contact with the lawyer Jesús Santos, who was defending the party in the case against Bárcenas.

The socialist leader did not manage to clarify that unknown despite his insistence, but he did show, as other spokesmen did, the proximity and good historical relationship of López with the PP. The now Madrilenian politician entered the judicial career in 1989 and began to accumulate positions and appointments at the proposal of the PP since 2001, first in the General Council of the Judiciary and then in the Constitutional Court.

Sicilia intended to show that López should be at that time of contact “a privileged witness” because of his knowledge of the Gürtel case at the National High Court (he was challenged for lack of appearance of impartiality in five separate pieces of that process), for his access to fellow judges of that body and because of their proximity to the PP. López denied everything, and although he accepted that he has an ideology, he emphasized that it has never determined any judicial decision.

The Madrid counselor justified his actions in 2016 in that the two contactees “belonged” to his “circle of acquaintances with a personal relationship” and from his “private sphere”, but “not close friends.” López specified that it was the businessman who requested the appointment, but added that he never asked for what. “I could boast, but the other way around and I always made it clear that I didn’t want to know anything,” he added. Rufián was clarified that he did not consider himself “an intermediary.” The Citizen’s spokesperson, State attorney Edmundo Bal, tried to do so with the tactic of underlining “how strange and strange” that two people close to a legal case and their respective lawyers turned to López to be presented. It had no effect.

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The former chief of staff of María Dolores de Cospedal, José Luis Ortiz Grande, refused to collaborate with the commission and did not answer anything because he argued that he had already declared in court. The spokesmen of almost all the parties except that of the PP, Luis Santamaría, accused Ortiz Grande of “making fun” of the commission and the representation in the parliamentary headquarters for hiding behind his interventions before the judge who takes the case in the Hearing National.

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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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