Friday, May 25, 2018

Spain's corrupt government

Key figures in Spain's ruling party have just been jailed for corruption:

Spain’s ruling party has suffered a major blow after one of its former treasurers was jailed for 33 years for fraud and money laundering, and the party itself was found to have profited from an illegal kickbacks-for-contracts scheme, in a case that has become emblematic of political corruption in the country.

Luis Bárcenas, once a close ally of the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, was sentenced to prison for his part in the conspiracy and fined €44m (£38.5m), while the People’s party (PP) was fined €240,000 after judges at Spain’s highest criminal court ruled that it had benefited from the racket.

The so-called Gürtel case centred on Francisco Correa, a businessman with close ties to the PP who was accused of paying bribes to party officials between 1999 and 2006 in return for contracts to carry out public works and organise events. The investigation was codenamed Gürtel, the German word for correa (belt).

Correa was sentenced to 51 years in prison, and his lieutenant Pablo Crespo was jailed for 37 years and six months. Bárcenas’s wife, Rosalía Iglesias, was jailed for 15 years, and Correa’s ex-wife, Carmen Rodríguez Quijano, for 14 years and eight months.

All up, 29 party officials were sentenced to a combined 350 years in prison. There's now talk of a no confidence vote in the Spanish parliament to oust the government, and hopefully that will happen. This sort of corruption is not something that can be tolerated in a modern, democratic state, and parties which look the other way on it deserve to be punished by the electorate.