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Spanish ruling Party found guilty of benefitting financially in fraud case

Published : 24 May 2018, 21:21

  DF-Xinhua Report
Spanish Prime Minister and People's Party Chairman Mariano Rajoy Brey. File Photo Xinhua.

Spain's governing People's Party (PP) was on Thursday found guilty of benefitting economically from a corruption scandal in a landmark judgement in Spain.

Local media reported that PP as an institution was considered to have benefitted "to the detriment of the public interest" from a wide ranging cash for favors scandal known as the "Gurtel case".

The PP has been condemned to pay 245,492 euros, while former PP Health Minister Ana Mato will have to pay back 27,857 euros she received in gifts from members of the Gurtel organization.

The Spanish high court handed a prison sentence of 51 years for Francisco Correa, who is considered to be the mastermind behind the operation, organizing a corruption network which worked with PP officials during the period 1999-2006.

Former PP party treasurer Luis Barcenas was given a 33-year-jail term and fined over 44 million euros and he was also found guilty of evading over 11.5 million euros in taxes and taking 1.24 million euros in bribes for helping with the adjudication of public contracts to individuals close to Correa.

Bercenas' wife Rosalia Iglesias has also been given a 15-year prison sentence for her role in the case, while Ana Mato's former husband Jesus Sepulveda, former PP mayor of the town of Pozuelo de Alarcon which is close to Madrid, will have to spend 14 years in prison.

In total, 29 of the 37 people who stood trial and were found guilty have been handed a total of 352 years in jail. This trial is only the first part of the investigation into the Gurtel case, with a second trial for the period after 2006 scheduled to be held at a later date.

The PP have confirmed they will appeal against the sentence with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisting the sentence "doesn't affect the PP in any way whatsoever," adding that "nobody in the current or past direction of the PP knew of anything irregular."

This finding comes just 48 hours after Eduardo Zaplana, former PP mayor of Benidorm and former minister for employment and social security, was arrested on charges of accepting bribes and the misuse of public funds.