When José Manuel Villarejo was released from prison on March 3, he sent a direct message to the highest echelons of the country. “They have decided to make a catharsis of Spain? OK agreed. I am delighted that this is happening, ”said the retired commissioner at the very gates of the Estremera penitentiary (Madrid), where the television cameras were stationed. More than eight months after that episode, already sitting on the bench of the accused of the National Court, the retired commissioner has put his threat into practice and has demonstrated his willingness to shoot against all the powers of the State. Without palliative. This Friday, during the fourth session of the first major trial against him, still focused on the preliminary issues phase, his lawyer proposed to the court that a long battery of witnesses made up of ministers, presidents of the Government, prosecutors, magistrates, parade by sight. high-ranking police officers and CNI agents. He put all of them under suspicion for, according to him, knowing about Villarejo’s businesses and even making use of them at some point.
Among the names that were listed are Pedro Sánchez, current chief executive; and two of his predecessors, Mariano Rajoy and Felipe González. Also, it was proposed that they declare the current head of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska; former ministers Jorge Fernández Díaz, María Dolores de Cospedal and José Luis Corcuera; the former Secretaries of State Rafael Vera and José Antonio Nieto; the State Attorney General, Dolores Delgado; magistrates of the National High Court such as Fernando Andreu and Alejandro Abascal; the first examining magistrate of the Villarejo case, Diego de Egea; prosecutors Eduardo Torres-Dulce, Javier Zaragoza and Manuel Moix; and two commissioners who were in charge of the Police, Eugenio Pino and Florentino Villabona. On all of them, the court must now rule.
In this way and over more than five hours, Villarejo’s lawyer, Antonio García Cabrera, denounced this Friday alleged irregularities in the investigation that cornered his client, which he described as an operation of “all levels of the system” to finish off the retired commissioner. In fact, in the third session of the hearing, the lawyer already delved into that line by presenting the instruction as a “flawed and prepared cause”, hatched by the CNI to try to “annihilate him.” “What are they afraid of saying!”, The former policeman exclaimed this Friday at the doors of the National Court, after complaining about the refusal of the court to let him speak to defend himself – since he is registered as a lawyer – . “Are they going to gag me? I am willing to speak and I am going to do it ”, he added.
An issue that caused a direct confrontation with the president of the court, Angela Murillo, who has made it clear from day one that she was not going to allow the excesses of the retired commissioner. The policeman tried to intervene this Friday without the permission of the judges, which led to a quick action by Murillo. “I’m not talking to you,” the magistrate snapped at Villarejo. “Do you want to shut up? Mr. Accused, shut up! Here at this headquarters you can’t say what you want, “he ordered, before ordering a break. All in the midst of enormous tension.
It was not the only friction of the session. Before, the president had already had it with García Cabrera when the lawyer wanted to back down from a few words that he had pronounced “on behalf of Villarejo”, in which he protested the organization of the hearing scheduled by the magistrates and accused them, even, of “dozing” and “surrendering to Morpheus” at some point. A statement that greatly irritated the judges.
“You mean the court has fallen asleep?” Murillo asked him then, annoyed.
“That’s …” replied the defense attorney.
“I’d appreciate it if you could tell us when it happened.”
“It is based on an appreciation …
“I would ask that the man who told you that [en referencia a Villarejo]That proves it, ”the president agreed.
The Prosecutor’s Office is asking for more than 100 years in prison for the retired commissioner accused of collecting hundreds of thousands of euros from individuals in exchange for spying on third parties, for which he accessed confidential databases using his status as a policeman. But Villarejo maintains, on the other hand, that he could never commit any crime with his businesses because they were part of the cover he had as an undercover agent. “If Villarejo were responsible, it would be the State, which was who he worked for,” his defense attorney reiterated this Friday.
For this reason, the lawyer tries to parade through the trial numerous senior government and police officials who, he said, should confirm the supposed special status enjoyed by the main protagonist of this plot. “Fernández Díaz declared that he was the tenth minister at the service of which Villarejo was, and that he did so satisfactorily. And, if the State knew about the functions that Villarejo performed, there could never have been bribery, and less can one speak of a criminal organization, ”García Cabrera said, immediately arguing that Cenyt, the police’s business group, would have always functioned with the permits from their superiors.
It was at that moment that the defense also pointed to the Prosecutor’s Office, which it accused of having used Villarejo for its investigations: “Javier Zaragoza was familiar with this structure and it was used in Operation Oubiña. If it was used by the Prosecutor’s Office, what criminal organization is there? “Villarejo was in the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office organizing Operation Catalonia by order of Torres-Dulce. And Operation Catalonia is like Kitchen, [la operación de espionaje a Luis Bárcenas, extesorero del PP]. It is the same use of that structure, “added the lawyer, who asked the court to delve into this issue during the hearing.
Since last October, the National Court welcomes a triple trial of the plot led by Villarejo. The Criminal Chamber decided to bring together three lines of investigation in this hearing that were instructed separately: the so-called Iron, Land and Painter Pieces. The first concerns the hiring of the commissioner by the firm Herrero & Asociados to allegedly spy on another law firm. Land focuses on the family war of the heirs of Luis García-Cereceda, the developer who built the luxury development La Finca in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid). And Pintor deals with how the businessman Juan Muñoz Tamara, husband of the presenter Ana Rosa Quintana, signed Villarejo to illegally obtain data from an ex-partner, from whom they demanded payment of a debt.
Contacts with El Pollo Carvajal
For José Manuel Villarejo, the battle begins before entering the National Court. Before each hearing session, the retired commissioner stands before the cameras posted in front of the building to throw his darts. His first words this Friday were dedicated to the magistrates who are prosecuting him: “Today I am going to try to comply with the rule of law and that, as a lawyer, they allow me to speak. Because, until now, they have not let me”, he said, minutes before the court did not allow him to intervene in the preliminary questions phase.
To questions from journalists, Villarejo has also reported that he “exchanged” information in prison with Hugo Armando Carvajal, The Carvajal Chicken, the former head of the Venezuelan counterintelligence who has accused Podemos in the National Court of receiving alleged deliveries of money from the Chavista governments. A testimony that has meant the reopening of an old investigation filed in 2016. “Carvajal was with me in prison for several months and it is true that we were exchanging information that I had and that he contrasted,” said the retired commissioner this Friday. El Pollo Carvajal and the policeman then came to share a lawyer, according to legal sources. Villarejo was part of the patriotic police that maneuvered against the formation from the Ministry of the Interior.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.