The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office requests 15 years in prison for the former Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, during the espionage on Luis Bárcenas with reserved funds. The Public Ministry requests the same sentence for the former number two in the Ministry, Francisco Martínez, and for the deputy director of operations at that time, Commissioner Eugenio Pino, whom it accuses of cover-up, embezzlement and crimes against privacy. For José Manuel Villarejo, he raises the request for a sentence of 19 years for those same crimes, to which he adds that of improper bribery.
The letter from the Prosecutor’s Office requests prison sentences for four other defendants, all of them members of the first line of the political brigade that operated in the Police during the first Government of Mariano Rajoy. This is the former head of Internal Affairs, Marcelino Martín Blas, for whom he is asking for two years and 6 months for cover-up; the current commissioner Andrés Gómez Gordo, former adviser to María Dolores de Cospedal, who faces 15 years in prison for concealment, embezzlement and crimes against privacy; the same years and crimes as for Sergio Ríos, a former driver of the Bárcenas family who later joined the Police; and Enrique García Castaño, for whom he requests 12 years. García Castaño was no longer accused in the first trial of Bárcenas because he is suffering from a serious illness that prevents him from defending himself. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor requests in its letter that the State be declared subsidiary civil responsible.
The inclusion of the crime of embezzlement in the Anti-Corruption petition for having diverted public funds to an activity other than the one for which they are intended –in this case favoring the Popular Party by sabotaging the investigation of its box B– means that the legal reform carried out carried out in this legislature does not affect the defendants and, therefore, they do not benefit from a possible reduction in sentence.
The indictment of the Prosecutor’s Office comes at the same time that it is revealed that the Criminal Chamber has rejected the appeal of the popular accusations of PSOE and Podemos against the exculpation of María Dolores de Cospedal, whom they consider the authentic coordinator of the parapolice operation to destroy evidence against the PP. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office itself joined these appeals after the refusal of Judge Manuel García Castellón to charge the former general secretary of the PP again in view of the new recordings that placed her at the top of the operation, such as the one in which asks Villarejo to “stop” the publication of the “notebook”, in reference to the Bárcenas papers, the main evidence of the party’s box B. The Criminal Chamber has confirmed the magistrate’s decision.
Faced with this decision by the National Court, the Prosecutor’s Office says in its letter that it was Fernández Díaz, Martínez and Commissioner Pino who devised the Kitchen operation, “without also ruling out the intervention of other people from different instances,” it adds, alluding to cospedal.
Prosecutors Miguel Serrano and César de Rivas – who replaced Ignacio Stampa after his position in Anticorruption was not renewed – describe the Kitchen operation as “an illegal police intelligence operation aimed at obtaining both information and material evidence – documents stored in any kind of support, including computer and telephone devices – that could be incriminating for the Popular Party and its highest leaders in the procedure that was followed in Court number 5 of the National Court (…) known as the Gürtel case and that could be in the hands of Luis Bárcenas Gutiérrez”, former treasurer of the party.
“And all of this -he continues- with the aim of preventing all that potentially incriminating material for the Popular Party and its leaders that could be investigated from being formally contributed to the meritorious judicial procedure that was followed in the Court of Instruction number 5 of the National Court ”.
From there, the Anti-Corruption brief reviews the operation. About how the political brigade contacted the family’s driver, Sergio Ríos Esgueva, who, “from his position as driver, not only had great knowledge of their movements and activities, but also, by virtue of the trust they had in him, deposited by the Bárcenas family”.
First it was Commissioner García Castaño, head of the source capture and eavesdropping unit of the General Information Commissioner, who tried to capture the driver. When he was not successful, Andrés Gómez Gordo entered the scene, of whom the letter says that “he held the position of general director of Documentation and Analysis of Castilla-La Mancha between 2011 and 2015 at the time when he was chaired by María Dolores de Cospedal, at that time General Secretary of the Popular Party”. The letter does not specify who or how he thought of Gómez Gordo to participate in the operation, only that he knew the driver because both had worked for the Community of Madrid.
Once captured, the driver began to report appointments and meetings with Bárcenas, until he entered jail and Rosalía Iglesias later, to Gómez Gordo, García Castaño and José Manuel Villarejo. Ríos Esgueva also copied documents for them and told them about the conversations the family had. In return, he collected 2,000 euros from the reserved funds every month between July 2013 and September 2015.
The information compiled by the three aforementioned police officers was transferred by themselves to the deputy operational director of the Police, Eugenio Pino; the Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Martínez; and the Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, “as head of the Ministry of the Interior.”
In addition to the information work of the driver, police surveillance outside of any legal case was added. This is where Commissioner Marcelino Martín-Blas, of Internal Affairs, enters the scene. This unit had been used to act on the ground in Operation Catalunya, and from what Anticorruption explains, it acted the same way in the Kitchen. Martín Blas ordered the surveillance, says the Prosecutor’s Office, “with the knowledge that they were not included in any official investigation.”
The political brigade suspected that in a place that Rosalía Iglesias used to store her paintings “the audio files corresponding to conversations held with leaders of the Popular Party, such as its president Mariano Rajoy or Javier Arenas, could be found, and that Luis Bárcenas suggested that he had recorded ”. García Castaño entered said premises without a court order and “there is no record that he managed to get hold of any type of documentation.”
The Prosecutor’s Office also recounts how García Castaño managed to get the driver to give him some Bárcenas mobile devices that he copied on a memory stick and that he delivered to Francisco Martínez and Jorge Fernández, who had been notified of the dumping of the devices “immediately after their realization”.
The second Kitchen in prison
The Anticorruption brief supports the thesis of a second Kitchen in the Soto del Real prison. In this sense, he assures that Villarejo and Martínez obtained “information on bank accounts and movements of funds” that Bárcenas hid in prison and that they obtained it “through unknown persons.”
In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office attributes to all the defendants, except the driver and Martín Blas, this second operation that included recruiting a computer scientist who shared a prison with Bárcenas, to whom the latter commissioned “the deletion of audio files with conversations that he claimed to have had with Mariano Rajoy – then President of the Government and of the Popular Party – and with Javier Arenas, leader of the Popular Party, regarding funds illegally managed by the Popular Party”.
Anticorruption assures that when the computer scientist was released from prison on leave, he was arrested “on account of a non-existent pending legal case and returned to the Soto del Real prison.” “”There is no record that the inmate could complete the order“add the prosecutors.
The Prosecutor’s Office also explains how the political brigade, through Gómez Gordo, tried to launder the parapolice operation some time later in the police files, but that in reality they never informed the authentic investigators of box B of their maneuvers. This argument, that they were investigating box B of the PP, has been exposed by the defendants to exonerate themselves.
Reserved funds, public money
The calculation of the public money used to pay the driver amounts to 57,943.43 euros, to which must be added an amount impossible to quantify in the time of the officials and resources used in the vigilance of the vigilante operation. In addition, Sergio Ríos joined the Police following a Villarejo plan “with the acquiescence of, at least, the defendants Eugenio Pino and Francisco Martínez.”
Anti-corruption has removed from its indictment two important members of the political brigade against whom it considers that there are no indications to sit them on the bench. They are José Ángel Fuentes Gago and Bonifacio Díaz Sevillano.