From left to right, Álvaro Pérez, Francisco Correa and Pablo Crespo, in the first session of the trial for the hiring of a company from the Gürtel plot for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Valencia in 2006. Pool / Europa Press
The National Court has sentenced 19 of the 23 defendants to sentences of up to 15 years and five months in prison for the illegal award to a company of the Gürtel plot of the contract to supply video screens and sound and public address equipment for acts by the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Valencia in July 2006. The highest penalties have fallen on the head of the corruption network, Francisco Correa (13 years and 7 months) and his lieutenant, Pablo Crespo (15 years and 5 months) ).
The also member of the plot, Álvaro Pérez,
and the former director of Radio Televisión Valenciana (RTVV) Pedro García Gimeno have been sentenced to 6 years and 9 months, while José Luis Martínez Parra, vice president of the company Teconsa, a key player in the fraud by having served as a screen, was sentenced has imposed an 11 years and 7 months.
The rest of the defendants have been sentenced to sentences ranging from eight months in prison to which Jacobo Gordon was sentenced to three years under Francisco Javier Arnuncio.
The court has acquitted two of the defendants, Noemí Márquez and Alexandra Andrea Benesovsky, for whom the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office already withdrew the accusation during the trial.
Two other defendants, Juan Cotino and Luis Sabater Balaguer, died, thus terminating their criminal responsibility.
The judgment agrees to apply the highly qualified mitigation of undue delay, since 14 years have elapsed since the date of the events and 12 years since the cause began.
In addition, it has also been applied to some accused for reparation of the damage and for confession: of the 22 accused, 11 acknowledged the facts.
The ruling considers it proven that the general director of the RTVV directly awarded Teconsa, a company brought by Francisco Correa's group of companies, the contract to supply video screens and sound equipment for the Pope's visit to Valencia in July 2006 "with a clear purpose of illicit enrichment" for 6,460,000 euros (7,493,600 euros with VAT), an amount that, according to police reports, was double the real.
In the fraud, the ruling highlights, public employees of the Valencian radio and television participated "and the essential procedures were pre-dated in order to give the appearance of illegality and incurring the elaboration in successive infractions of the administrative regulations".
Later, Teconsa sent the money to different beneficiaries through a network of fictitious and irregular invoices.
The ruling considers it proven that the award was illegal, and that the leaders of the Gürtel plot and the general director of the Valencian radio television, García Gimeno, agreed to the award and then drew up the tender dossier to try to provide legal cover for the fraud.
For the court, the facts constituted crimes of bribery, prevarication, fraud against the Public Administration, embezzlement, falsification in official and commercial documents, money laundering and against the Public Treasury.