The massive fraud the ERE of Andalusia arrives at the Supreme Court a month and a half before the Andalusian elections. The criminal court will hear, over the next two days, the arguments of the 19 convicted of the hole of 679 million euros left in the Andalusian coffers by the uncontrolled system of aid to companies that prevailed between the years 2000 and 2009, under the PSOE government. On the judges' table, the requests for acquittal of some of the most relevant names in Andalusian politics in recent decades: José Antonio Griñán, Manuel Chaves, Magdalena Álvarez or Gaspar Zarrías, among others.
The sentence of the Court of Seville came after more than 150 oral trial sessions. A sentence of 1,800 pages that declared proven that, within the Andalusian Government, the executive launched a system of social and labor aid or for companies and "respond to the economic crisis situations of companies with centers of activity in Andalusia ".
Along with the aid system, according to the Justice, came a total absence of control that allowed many unemployed to be left without aid, that many others did receive it even though they did not belong to the affected group or that they continued to be paid once they got a job. Part of the money, according to the Court of Seville, was used for things that had nothing to do with employment: financing the training of volunteers for the Mediterranean Games held in Almería in 2005, occupational risk prevention campaigns or craft shows .
According to the Court of Seville, this system outlawed a total of 679.4 million euros between 2000 and 2009 and those responsible are not only those who directly managed the funds from the Ministry of Employment: the President José Antonio Griñán and his predecessor, Manuel Chaves. The first had previously been a counselor in the branch and the second, according to the sentence, introduced modifications to the Andalusian budgets despite the warnings against the operation.
All have appealed and all request acquittal in the face of a sentence that marked many the path to prison. Jose Antonio Grinanpresident of the Junta de Andalucía between 2009 and 2013 and former president of the PSOE, was sentenced to six years in prison and 15 years of disqualification. Manuel Chavezpresident of the Board between 1990 and 2009 and former minister, was sentenced to nine years of disqualification, the same sentence as the former minister Gaspar Zarrias and that Magdalena AlvarezMinister of Public Works with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
The highest prison sentences, seven years and 11 months, were imposed on former Minister Antonio Fernández and former Director of Labor, Javier Guerrero. The sentences of seven years in prison were for former directors José Antonio Vieira and Francisco Vallejo. There were only two acquitted: the comptroller general of the Board, Manuel Gómez, and the head of the legal cabinet, Francisco del Río. The judges attributed crimes of prevarication and embezzlement of public funds.
Ahead, if there are no changes in the calendar, there are two sessions in which the defendants – many of whom risk entering prison – will not have to go to the Supreme Court and in which the lawyers and accusations will take the floor. The Prosecutor's Office has asked the judges to confirm the sentences after the sentence of the Seville Court almost completely assumed its accusation against 19 of the 21 accused. The entire process and aid system, he says in his appeal, was "patent illegality."
The trial of the case was seen for sentencing in the Court of Seville just a few days after the Andalusian elections were held in which the Popular Party of Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla ended up evicting the PSOE from San Telmo, after almost four decades of governments socialists. The sentence, however, did not come until almost a year later, with the new president presenting his coalition executive with Ciudadanos as a rupture with respect to that time.
In this case the paths of Justice and politics cross again. The oral hearing of the Supreme Court to hear the arguments of the parties was put on the calendar before the president of the Andalusian Government announced the call for elections. In this way, there will be less than a month of difference between the public review of the case and the Andalusian elections on June 19. But the chances that the final sentence of the case breaks in the middle of the electoral campaign are practically nil.
It is not a possible scenario, in the first place, due to the tendency of the Supreme Court to prevent its sentences from being the protagonists of an election. But the main reason is the volume of the matter that the judges have in their hands: a total of 152 trial sessions, a sentence of 1,821 pages together with the allegations of 19 convicts and various types of irregular aid that took place in different instances throughout over nine years.
The great cases of corruption are not matters that are quickly dispatched in the second chamber of the Supreme Court. The main piece of the Gurtel plot, baptized as 'Epoch I', began to be analyzed in February 2020 and the sentence did not arrive until October of that year, that is, eight months later. In the Nóos case, the judges held the public hearing in March 2018 and the sentence did not arrive until three months later. In it palau case The review began in November 2019 and the sentence arrived at the end of April of the following year.
The speaker of the sentence will be Judge Eduardo de Porres, accompanied in court by Juan Ramón Berdugo, Ana Ferrer, Carmen Lamela and Susana Polo.
The last two years have seen a trickle of resources from those convicted in the second chamber of the Supreme Court. Manuel Chaves, for example, understands that the Seville Court made "errors in assessing the evidence" and Magdalena Álvarez pointed to "contradictions" in the proven facts of the resolution, which occupy more than 60 pages in the description of the facts .
Another of those who have appealed is José Antonio Griñán, stating that his conviction is based on "presumptive assumptions". The former president of the Board, former president of the PSOE and former Minister of the Government has also published a book entitled 'When nothing is expected' in which he takes a tour of his political life and expresses his conviction that he will be acquitted . "I don't believe in my innocence, I know my innocence," he said a few weeks ago in an interview on Onda Cero.