Ignacio Blanch, during his statement in the trial against Camps, this Tuesday, at the National Court.
Ignacio Blanch, a journalist, sat down this Tuesday at the National Court to testify as a witness in the trial against Francisco Camps for his alleged involvement in the
A childhood friend of the former Valencian president, Blanch was appointed member of the board of directors of Radiotelevisión Valenciana (RTVV) in 2002, before joining the companies of Francisco Correa's corrupt network in 2003 to help them land in the community.
A job that he left in 2005 to land in the Generalitat as an adviser to the Ministry of the Presidency.
But in all this transfer, according to what Blanch has told the court, Camps had nothing to do with it, despite the fact that the members of the plot insist that they hired the journalist because it was a personal favor that the former leader of the PP asked them for.
Blanch's statement has marked the thirteenth session of the trial, the first in which witnesses have testified after finishing the interrogations of the defendants on March 9.
The journalist's testimony presented, from the outset, a double interest.
On the one hand, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has deepened its role within Orange Market, the company created by the Correa network to settle in the region.
Blanch has confirmed that contracts awarded by the Administration were "chopped";
and he has also admitted that the plot moved to the Valencian Community after the relationship with the national PP broke down as a result of the arrival of Mariano Rajoy to replace José María Aznar, as the leaders of Gürtel have affirmed during the hearing oral.
The Prosecutor's Office seeks the contradictions of Camps
Blanch has even said that he was aware that Correa and his subordinates sought to "penetrate the institutions until they obtained the favoritism of certain people";
and she has assumed that, "up to a certain point", she was hired because of his contacts with the PP.
However, when asked by the Prosecutor's Office about a second topic of interest (the role that Camps played in Blanch's arrival at Orange Market and the awarding of contracts to the plot), the journalist has denied the involvement of the former president.
Blanch has assured the court that he found out about the existence of Correa's companies through Pedro García Gimeno, then regional secretary of Communication and later director of RTVV, sentenced to six years and nine months in prison in another branch of Gürtel -focused on irregular allocations to the corrupt network during the Pope's visit to Valencia in 2006—.
"Were you related to Camps?"
the prosecutor insisted.
—I am a friend of Camps since childhood.
But, in the area we are talking about, I had no contact,” Blanch replied.
—Wasn't it Mr. Camps who introduced you to Álvaro Pérez?
- Do you know if the plot knew public officials?
—Initially, I think those who knew each other best were Álvaro Pérez and Pedro García.
And from there it branched out [...] I was not aware of a friendly relationship between Pérez and Camps [...] Pérez was always related to the ranks of directors downwards, and with party officials.
The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, however, puts a very different thesis on the table.
The public ministry – which asks Camps for two and a half years in prison – maintains that the then regional president helped Gürtel to enter the regional Administration, and that he maneuvered to get contracts awarded to him.
This performance was prompted by his friendship with El Bigotes, according to the prosecution.
“I was aware that [Camps] appreciated and loved me.
I was his friend […] It would seem obscene to me to deny the obvious, ”Pérez insisted on February 20, during his interrogation.
In this sense, as he stated in a confession letter sent to the Court, Camps proposed to the corrupt network to disembark in Valencia and, among his first agreements, they agreed that the plot should hire Blanch,
This is how El Bigotes explained it:
“The first commitment that Camps acquires with me is that, when I arrive in Valencia, he gives me the events of the party, despite the fact that he had an order from the national PP not to contract anything.
Even so, he bet on me;
and, in turn, Camps asks me to hire Ignacio Blanch, a friend of his and his family […] It was a mutual commitment.
We both complied."
In his confession letter, he adds: “In December 2004, Ignacio Blanch was awarded a contract as a client of the Ministry of the Presidency itself.
At that time, Esteban González Pons was a director [...] The award came through the friendship that Blanch had with González Pons, and the commitment acquired from the beginning between Camps and me.
An example was: we hired Blanch at Orange Market, [one of the companies in the plot], and he would give/allocate us jobs”.
—Currently, do you have a friendly relationship with Camps?
Pérez's lawyer asked Blanch this Tuesday.
"Well... We're friends... He was at my father's funeral," the former employee of the plot replied.
In his statement at the Hearing, however, Camps distanced himself.
“Her parents and my parents were friends.
The children of my parents' friends saw each other in childhood because they took us with them.
But, once you leave childhood and adolescence, you already look for other types of friends.
And, from there, I stopped having a relationship with Ignacio Blanch.
Until in the 90s he interviewed me while I was a councilor and I found out that he was a journalist, that he worked for the newspaper
And I did not see him again until the funerals of our respective fathers and mothers as they have gone to heaven, ”he explained.
According to the former leader of the PP, he never knew that Blanch worked for Orange Market.
He also ignored his subsequent passage through the Generalitat Valenciana.
The oral hearing will resume this Wednesday with the declaration of more witnesses.
Among others, the Court plans to question José Luis Peñas, the former PP councilor in Majadahonda (Madrid) who uncovered the Gürtel plot.
Peñas, who is currently pending a petition for pardon for his sentence to four years and nine months in prison in the sentence on the main part of the corrupt network (the line of investigations called Época I), filed a complaint in 2007 in police.
The exedil accompanied his story with 18 hours of recordings that he had made for two years to the main leaders of the plot, businessmen and politicians of the PP.
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