Madrid mayoral candidate’s press chief called before court

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Flickr by Comunidad de Madrid

ISABEL GALLEGO, the media chief of the Popular Party (PP) in Madrid, has been called to go before the High Court next month as a part of an investigation into an alleged bid-rigging scheme known as ‘Punica.’

Gallego, who is also the head of press for the party’s mayoral candidate for the capital, Esperanza Aguirre, has now been named a formal suspect and will be questioned by Judge Eloy Velasco.

The PP media officer is under investigation regarding the suspected spending of €60,000 of public money on improving the image of Madrid government officials. Contracts for the work were with Alejandro de Pedro Llorca, one of the main targets in the investigation into Punica, a scheme alleged to have illegally awarded €250 million in contracts for public work.

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Esperanza Aguirre has said she will keep Gallego in post as her campaign’s head of media in the run up to the elections in May. Meanwhile, the director of the PP’s campaign in Madrid defended her, saying the contracts were “completely legal,” and agreed with the knowledge of the region’s comptroller’s office.

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