Sat. Feb 23rd, 2019

The Court examines whether to leave the Villarejo ex-policeman at liberty

La Audiencia estudia si deja en libertad al expolicía Villarejo

The judge of the National Court Diego de Egea once again on the table request for freedom of the former commissioner José Manuel Villarejo, feared by the devastating consequences that the publication of some of his conversations with political representatives. The appearance of his recordings put in risk the continuity in the position of the justice minister, Dolores Delgado, and caused shortly after the resignation to the seat of the ex- minister of Defense Maria Dolores de Cospedal (PP), to whom the ex-policeman told him that I had tried to destroy evidence of the Gürtel case.

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With this background, each request for freedom of Villarejo causes endless speculation about the possible scope of the next delivery of his recordings. In judicial circles it is considered that there is little chance that in the short term the magistrate in charge of the Tandem operation - related to the illicit business of the ex-police officer - will modify the situation of unconditional imprisonment of the investigated person. But in those same media the warnings of Villarejo still resound in the sense that he had reserved a "final trail" of his revelations if around the end of the year his attempts to recover freedom had not prospered.

The Criminal Chamber rejected the previous request of the ex-commissioner pending reports on material intervened

His possible exit from prison would, of course, be very controversial, due to the characteristics of his career and the doubts that he has been sowing in the sense of having counted over the years with the support of successive governments of different sign. According to this version of his activities, Villarejo would have been allowed to reconcile his personal reporting and blackmail and extortion practices with his responsibilities as a senior police officer. A thin line, imperceptible, would have separated its supposed tasks in the interest of the State from its accumulation of material to be used later to convenience, for its own benefit.

For now, if Villarejo has really been the one who has been releasing the first records of his abundant fonoteca, the play has not gone away. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has always stated against his successive appeals to obtain a review of his unconditional prison situation. And it has not been only Judge De Egea who has wanted - and decided - to keep him in jail. Recently, the Criminal Chamber of the National Court also rejected a petition for freedom filed by the ex-policeman.

Villarejo had alleged that De Egea had filed some pieces of the investigation. And the Criminal Chamber replied that they did not affect the core of the case. The magistrates again underlined the main reason why the ex-policeman has been in prison for more than a year, since November 5, 2017, which is the risk of flight. And next to it, the fear of destroying evidence. The Criminal Court's ruling argued in this regard that "it is also necessary to maintain the appellant's prison situation to avoid the destruction or manipulation of evidence due to the existence of material that has not yet been analyzed and from which more lines of investigation may derive." Judge De Egea is waiting for the results of these analyzes. Most likely, it will not resolve Villarejo's new request until he receives them. The Office of the Prosecutor, in turn, remains on the lookout and in no case seems ready to facilitate the release from prison of the ex-police.

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