THE former treasurer of the People’s Party and a network of politicians and businessmen allied to acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy go on trial today charged with fraud.
More than 300 witnesses will be called to the docks to testify over accusations that the 37 defendants operated a brazen bribery ring over a spell of at least 15 years.
The trial centres on an investigation codenamed Gurtel, which uncovered an alleged network of companies created to formulate a kickback scheme from firms bidding for public contracts awarded by PP officials.
It was uncovered by whistleblower Ana Garrido, a former civil servant whose evidence of instruction to favour certain companies reached Judge Garzon in 2009. Garzon was famed for ordering the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet when he entered Spain and pursued the case relentlessly.
Garrido for fired, harassed and persecuted for her role in unveiling the scandal and now makes a living selling homemade jewellery as she awaits the €95,000 compensation for official harassment she is due.
Key players in the trial are former PP treasurer Luis Barcenas and events organiser Francisco Correa. Witnesses will include leading lights of Rajoy’s PP generation and Rodrigo Rato. The former IMF director is himself a figure of national contempt having blown €15 million of bank shareholder money on his own selfish ends.