The former director of the Faffe Fernando Villén (right), this Monday accompanied by his lawyer, in the courts of Seville.Julio Muñoz (EFE)
The former director of the Andalusian Junta Fernando Villén has alleged that he spent 32,556 euros in brothels with his official cards due to his "commercial activity" for 10 nights between 2004 and 2010, according to his testimony at the opening of the trial initiated this Monday in the Audience of Seville for embezzlement and continued documentary falsification. "Within my commercial activity, in those eight years there were circumstances with clients for agreements and collaborations (...) I regret it and unfortunately that happened for 10 days (...) Contracts with companies were responsible for meals and drinks (...) One has drinks in those places and is not in the use of his faculties (...) Having bad connotations in 2004, today they are much worse, "he has argued about his visits to clubs of alterne of Seville, Cádiz and Córdoba paid with public funds.
Villén, former director of the Andalusian Foundation Training and Employment Fund (Faffe), has recognized the night passes with three cards of the Board under different governments of the PSOE, but has alleged that he returned the money "in all cases". "Did you consciously pay with the Faffe card?" the prosecutor asked. "Yes, knowing that it was an unjustifiable expense that I had to pay back ... It seems to me a barbarity what has happened, "he admitted during the oral hearing, with a jury that will decide on the guilt of the former directors – composed of five men and five women – and that will last for seven sessions from this Monday.
The former director faces a request for six years in prison with the former economic-financial director of the Faffe, Anna Valls, for which the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office asks for four years in prison for embezzlement and document falsification. Judge Mercedes Alaya, former instructor of the ERE case, presides over this trial in which the Andalusian Junta appears as a private accusation and the PP as a popular accusation.
Magistrate Mercedes Alaya, during the trial on Monday. Eduardo Briones (Europa Press)
In parallel, the Popular Party has used this case as a political battering ram against the management of the Socialists during the last five years, and Parliament has opened three times a commission of inquiry into the case in three different legislatures, the last of them now in process after the impulse of Vox and PP, as the first two commissions have not been finished. The Andalusian president, Juan Manuel Moreno (PP) began his electoral campaign in 2018 at the gates of the Don Angelo club, where Villén allegedly spent 25,000 euros.
This Monday the anti-corruption prosecutor of the case, Fernado Soto, has defended that Villén did not return all the money in full and has branded the matter as a case of "corruption": "The last night Villén spent 14,700 euros in one night and took out the public card 15 times, although we do not know with whom he went to Don Angelo, if he was accompanied by politicians, businessmen or colleagues (...) The great or revelry was of such magnitude that he invented that the card had been stolen, but then they did not dare to report it to the police and it looks like a movie, "he defended to convince the jury. Villén explained that the 14,000 euros spent in a single night were returned two days later in cash, in an envelope delivered to the owner of the local alternate by his driver.
For the public ministry, the former director did not return the money: "It puts in accounting returned, but it does not appear in the boxes or in the bank. There is not a single withdrawal document, how is that? (...) And where is the receipt of the advances? The Civil Guard looks at everything. Everything is everything, paper to paper and that will be my main evidence, "the prosecutor has advanced before settling: "Villén and Valls devised a system to hide the payments and make believe that he returned those amounts."
Villén has exonerated himself by saying that he tried to avoid that the expenses appear in the accounts of the Faffe to protect his family and that he did not ask for proof of the advances because "he trusted in the rigor of Ana Valls". The former director has responded to the interrogation of the prosecutor, his lawyer and Valls' lawyer, but not to the popular accusation of the PP.
Development of the trial this Monday in the Court of Seville for the Faffe case. Eduardo Briones (Europa Press)
During the first session of the trial, Villén's lawyer, Adolfo Cuéllar, has defended: "We are not facing a moral judgment, but a crime of embezzlement for undue expenses alien to the reality of the Faffe and a simulation montage to not have paid it. But the money was returned, there are no frauds and the replacement obligation is fulfilled." The lawyer has stressed that the investigators of the armed Institute forgot to take into account a fourth bank account of Villén, whose movements they ignored during the investigations.
In his last questions, the former director of the Board has collapsed and has influenced his "degree of regret" for a case that has caused him depression and "a great deterioration" in his personal and social relationships. Villén's expenses with three official cards of the Board were registered in brothels, as well as in shops, nightclubs, gas stations, restaurants and car workshops, according to the Civil Guard. The former general director of the Faffe has assured that for seven years he took cash from bank ATMs a total of 350,000 euros.
In the previous turn, Valls' lawyer, Manuel Salinero, has criticized: "The Civil Guard has followed an unsustainable procedure, with bulk errors and incredible machination." Meanwhile, Alaya has reproached him that he should summarize his ideas because the economic issue was proving too complex for the jury: "The jury will hardly understand issues that right now do not know, you are speaking to them in Chinese."
The Junta created the Faffe in 2003 under the presidency of Manuel Chaves and dissolved it during the term of his successor, José Antonio Griñán. The entity accumulates expenses of 55 million without justifying, according to the Andalusian Chamber of Accounts. The oral hearing was scheduled between May 18 and 26, but given the interference with the municipal elections last Sunday, Alaya changed the start date to this May 29. Valls will testify on Tuesday in the second session of the trial.
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