08 February 2013

Rotten to the core?

It can't have escaped your notice that Spain's ruling classes are currently involved in some of the muckiest corruption scandals ever seen in modern Europe.  Politicians, bankers, businessmen, even members of the royal family are being exposed on an almost daily basis, as they continue to feather their comfortable nests while six million people don't have a job and millions more are having their wages cut.

To help you get your head round all this, here are some articles in English from the world's media.  If you haven't got the time or the inclination to trawl through all these, just read this recent summary from IberoSphereTime for Spain to defy expectations as it battles corruption

THE ECONOMIST - 9 February 2013
Spain’s government - Another blow. The ruling conservative party is shaken by a damaging corruption scandal.
A CHORIZO is a spicy Spanish sausage, best accompanied by a glass of Rioja, though often sliced and served in a doughy bocadillo, or sandwich. Chorizo is also slang for a swindler or cheat. At protests against Mariano Rajoy’s government demonstrators have taken to waving loaves aloft and shouting: “There isn’t enough bread for so many chorizos!”
Now the allegations have touched Mr Rajoy directly. “Never, ever have I received or handed out black money,” he insisted on January 21st. But revelations from Spain’s two main newspapers, El País and El Mundo, claim otherwise. They allege that slush money flowed liberally through the headquarters of Mr Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP) for at least two decades. Some of it supposedly went straight into the pockets of the party’s leaders. “Envelopes with cash were handed out as salary top-ups to certain top party officials,” said Jorge Trías Sagnier, a former PP deputy and the only whistleblower so far to go on the record.  Read the full article
 NEW YORK TIMES - 18 January 2013
Investigation Shows Spanish Ruling Party’s Ex-Treasurer Had $29 Million in Swiss Account
“I believe that the level of corruption that we’re now uncovering is well beyond anything that we had, at least in living memory,” said Alfonso Osorio, the president of BDO Spain, an auditing firm. “This corruption is sending the message that anything goes in the country, which could also really hurt Spain’s image around the world.”   Read the full article

WASHINGTON POST - 30 January 2013
Spanish judge sets $11.1 million bail for king’s son-in-law in fraud case
Inaki Urdangarin, who is married to the king’s second daughter, Princess Cristina, could have properties embargoed if he fails to provide the bail but wouldn’t go to prison. In a court document, investigating magistrate Judge Jose Castro said Urdangarin and former partner Diego Torres “ignored the rules of public contracting as long as they achieved their aim, which was no other than to divert public funds for their own benefit or that of others.”  He said the two agreed to make as much as possible out of Urdangarin’s relationship with the Royal Palace in their dealings with public and private entities.  Read the full article

IRISH TIMES - 8 February 2013
Bank of Spain criticised by report

An internal report commissioned by the Bank of Spain has lambasted the central lender’s supervision of the financial sector, accusing it of ignoring malpractice, failing to control excessive payouts and of connivance in illegal activity by the banks.

“During the inspection work, there are relatively frequent signs of conduct that could be deemed criminal,” says the report. “Its normal way of reacting to evidence of criminal wrongdoing is to look the other way.” The report cites the case of Alfredo Sáenz, chief executive of Santander, who was paid an estimated €13 million in 2012, despite being found guilty the previous year of fraud when he was president of Banesto bank. Read the full article

EL PAIS IN ENGLISH - 4 February 2013
Health minister under pressure to resign for receiving gifts
The former Popular Party (PP) mayor of Pozuelo de Alarcón, who stepped down in 2009 after he was named as a target in the massive Gürtel kickback-for-contracts inquiry, continues to receive an official salary from the ruling party as an advisor, EL PAÍS has learned.
Jesús Sepúlveda and his former wife, current Health Minister Ana Mato, received gifts and other perks from the alleged mastermind of the Gürtel bribery scheme, Francisco Correa, according to a 2011 police investigative report. Correa is out on bail awaiting trial on a host of charges.  Read the full article
Enough!  Resign!!

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