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A former director of the City of Arts says that the Government of Camps imposed a company of Gürtel: "It was an issue that came from above"


Highlights: Former Valencian president Francisco Camps is on trial in Spain for corruption. Former City of Arts and Sciences director says she was told to contract with Orange Market. Prosecution asks for two and a half years in prison for the former leader of the PP. They also ask for 16 years of disqualification for Salvadora Ibars for prevarication. The Public Ministry maintains that Camps "verbally instructed" her to award Orange Market the works related to the assembly of the stand of Major Projects of Fitur 2009.

The defense of the former president of the Generalitat Valenciana maintains that another of the accused has contacted one of the witnesses

Alicia Verdú, former commercial director of the City of Arts and Sciences, during her testimony in the trial against Camps, this Thursday.

Complicated day for the former Valencian president Francisco Camps in the trial hosted by the National Court against him since January for contracts with the Gürtel network. An employee and a former directive of the City of Arts and Sciences, dependent on the regional government, have told the court that the Executive of the PP imposed to contract for the tourism fair Fitur 2009 with Orange Market, the company used by the corrupt plot in the autonomous community. As they have insisted, the general director of Institutional Promotion of Camps, Salvadora Ibars, gave them direct instructions about the award: "We are going to make the stand with Orange Market," she told them. One of them added that, after the scandal broke, they were even asked to destroy documentation.

Ibars is a key player in the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office. The Public Ministry maintains that Camps "verbally instructed" her to award Orange Market the works related to the assembly of the stand of Major Projects of the tourism fair Fitur 2009. For this maneuver, the prosecutors ask for two and a half years in prison for the former leader of the PP. In turn, they request 16 years of disqualification for Ibars for two crimes of prevarication.

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The Prosecutor's Office explodes against the court that judges Camps and accuses him of putting "obstacles" to his work

The story of Alicia Verdú, former commercial director of the City of Arts and Sciences, where she spent 15 years (from 1997 to 2012), has been especially compromising for the defenses. The witness has detailed that Ibars called a meeting on December 30, 2008 in front of the Presidency Palace to indicate "with which company they were going to contract" and "who was going to make the stand" of Fitur 2009, which began just a month later.

"Did you know that company before?" Verdú was questioned by prosecutor Concepción Nicolás.

"I had not heard it in my life," replied the former commercial director of the City of Arts.

—Was it Orange Market?


The situation was already very suspicious. As explained by Verdú and later corroborated by another employee of the City of Arts (María Vanessa Borrás), they used to start preparing their participation in Fitur much earlier: about the month of July. "But that year, every time we tried to start, we got dragged out." Who? "Presidency." Who of the Presidency? "Ibars and its people. We were summoned in December, which is very late. And it was a topic that came from above." Do you know if Ibars received orders from Camps? "I don't know from whom he received the instructions. But her instructions at that meeting were: 'Let's do the booth with Orange Market.' I swear," the former directive has narrated forcefully. She also added that she was not given the budget until January 20, 2009 – eight days before the fair – and that it was exceeded by almost 30,000 euros.

"If that had been a proposal with that budget, I would not have accepted it in my company," Verdú added: "But they do not present me with a proposal. They tell me: 'The Fitur stand is going to be this, which is going to have three plugs'. The level of detail was beastly. In fact, it must have already been produced because, if not, there would not have been time to arrive. Those stands are not made in a week, 10 days or two months. Those stands require time [...] That was not a proposal. It was, 'This is what you have to do, and besides, shut up and don't give it up.'" "We didn't have any autonomy to contract with them or not."

Along the same lines, María Vanessa Borrás, who also worked at the City of Arts, has spoken out. As he stressed to the court, at the meeting of December 30 ("led by Ibars"), "we were told that everything was centralized in [Orange Market]." By then, he riveted, "everything should already be closed": "They must have taken time with this project [...] Alicia asked at that meeting, 'Shouldn't we ask for more budgets?' But the feeling is that it was closed."

Borrás has told another episode of that time. The witness has affirmed that, a few days after returning from Fitur, "the case of Orange Market jumped in the media". Then, she added, the general director of the City of Arts and Sciences called her to his office and told her to "destroy all this material" – in reference to documentation that she would later deliver to justice – "I ignored it because it did not seem right to me. I told him I wasn't going to do it. They tried to make things disappear." From 2005 to December 2009, the general director was Jorge Vela.

Contacts with witnesses

These claims have dealt a severe blow to the defenses. Camps' lawyer has tried to discredit the former directive, attributing an animosity against the former PP Government. In addition, when taking the floor, the lawyer has assured that David Serra, former Secretary of Organization of the Valencian PP and also accused, contacted this Wednesday with a witness who had to testify before the court (Inmaculada Guaita, former popular deputy in Congress); and that she told him that, while they were in the waiting room, she had heard Alicia Verdú say: "The little friend of the soul is going to get out of everything. You are going to find out, they plunged me into an ERE and they have hurt me a lot." "How?" exclaimed the witness: "Let the veracity of my testimony be doubted...! I can't believe it!"

This story has generated a huge surprise in the court (which has declared inadmissible the question that Camps' lawyer wanted to ask based on those alleged words of Verdú) and in the accusations, which have shown their misgivings about the possibility that the witnesses are being influenced in some way. "Has anyone spoken to you before today about this issue?" prosecutors have asked many of them. In this sense, upon learning of that alleged contact between Guaita and Serra (sentenced to three years and eight months in prison in another line of investigation of Gürtel), the Public Ministry said on Thursday: "It could not even be suspected that a defendant communicates in the afternoon with a witness who has testified in this procedure. " The lawyer of the popular prosecution has influenced the same: "Do the defense lawyers talk to the witnesses?"

Camps' defense thus repeats the strategy deployed against other witnesses who have testified against their interests. In March, he already tried to discredit Elvira Ramos, an employee of the Generalitat and former secretary of Ibars, who described how Gürtel roamed freely through the regional administration. According to him, Francisco Correa's man in the community, Álvaro Pérez (alias El Bigotes), "entered and left" assiduously from the offices of senior officials and, "in his opinion", there were "pressures" from the then president to contract with Orange Market. After passing through the court, the lawyer of the former leader of the PP asked to deduct testimony to be able to take legal action against her, but the magistrates rejected that possibility.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-06-08

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