The National Court refuses to impute Planeta for one of the orders to Villarejo | Spain

The retired commissioner José Manuel Villarejo, upon his departure from the National Court, in October.
The retired commissioner José Manuel Villarejo, upon his departure from the National Court, in October.Alberto Ortega (Europa Press)

The National Court has refused to charge Grupo Planeta with one of the alleged espionage assignments proposed to retired commissioner José Manuel Villarejo, the epicenter of a police corruption plot. The Criminal Chamber has concluded that “there is not enough evidence” of the hiring of the police officer by the company to investigate the brothers Javier and Ignacio Pérez Dolset, main shareholders of the Zed Group and with a relevant stake in the publishing company itself. . A work that the plot baptized as Project Brod and that came to cause the imputation of Mauricio Casals, president of the newspaper The reason and a member of the board of directors of Atresmedia, although the case against him ended up archived.

Through an order issued on November 12, to which EL PAÍS had access, the magistrates of the Third Section of the Criminal Chamber reject Javier Pérez Dolset’s request to re-investigate Casals for this commission and to, At the same time, for the first time, to impute Planeta and several executives – the secretary of the Council, the head of security and the administrators. “There are not enough indications [contra ellos]”, Emphasize the judges.

In October 2019, the investigating judge Manuel García-Castellón opened a line of investigation after the Internal Affairs Unit (UAI) of the Police found documentation on the Brod Project at the home of Rafael Redondo, one of Villarejo’s partners. The Prosecutor’s Office then argued that there were indications that the plot had been “hired” to investigate the brothers with the aim of “saving the interests of a client”, who was not identified, in a future legal dispute.

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Javier Pérez Dolset maintains that Planeta was behind this commission and that Casals was the person who took over the services of the business group headed by Villarejo (Cenyt), “acting on behalf” of the publishing company. “In February 2013, he commissioned the preparation of an intelligence report” on the main shareholders of Zed, emphasizes the alleged victim in one of his briefs, where he attributes the alleged crimes of bribery and secrecy to Planeta. It is a thesis that the instructor has already discarded due to lack of evidence and that the Criminal Chamber is now rejecting again, according to his order of November 12. In this resolution, the judges emphasize that “there is no documentary trace” that allows the client of the Brod Project to be identified “in an undoubted way, nor has it been possible to“ prove that it had a subsequent development ”. According to the magistrates, Villarejo and Redondo also denied that Planeta hired them and paid them for these services.

Mauricio Casals, at the National Court, in a 2019 image.
Mauricio Casals, at the National Court, in a 2019 image.ÁLVARO GARCÍA

In turn, the alleged victim alleged that the retired commissioner identified Casals as the client, but the court also denies this point. “In no way does Villarejo identify him as the client of the Brod Project. In his statement, Villarejo simply affirms that Casals had an interest in the brothers, this in a context of informal talks and that, since most of the responses refer to Villarejo’s generic relationship with Casals and the latter with Grupo Planeta, he does not allow substantiate the allegation that is sought, “says the Criminal Chamber.

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However, Planet is still indicated in the macrosummary of the Villarejo case. Last July, the judge did prosecute two former senior officials of the editorial group for hiring the retired commissioner to investigate in an allegedly irregular manner the arbitrator who settled the litigation between Grupo Planeta and Kiss FM in favor of this radio station. The investigation revealed that Planeta finally paid 48,400 euros to the curator for this work.

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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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