The Villarejo case, called to shake up the country’s political, business and judicial elite, is on the wane. Last Thursday, his list of exclusive defendants was reduced by a decision of Judge Manuel García Castellón, who in just two hours unexpectedly closed the spy room on Luis Bárcenas from the Interior Ministry and exempted from responsibility in hiring the corrupt police officer the oil company Repsol, the banking giant Caixabank and the heads of both.
These decisions made by the instructor affect the most relevant pieces of the case. With the common thread of the commissioner, the Tandem cause had become a puzzle of the corruption that has inhabited Spain in the four decades of democracy. Once again, the Ministry of the Interior was involved in a scandal only surpassed by state terrorism: from the public treasury, the reserved funds, an operation had been financed to sabotage the legal cases against the PP, the party at that time in government.
As already happened with the LAGs, everything is limited to the Ministry of the Interior. The judge has not even called to testify what other defendants point to as a perfect connoisseur of the “parapolicial” operation, the then President of the Government. Mariano Rajoy was the main beneficiary of the maneuver to steal from the PP treasurer the documentation of box B of the formation that could end his political career and even put him on the bench. The continuous references to “El Barbas” or “El Asturiano”, as Rajoy identifies Internal Affairs, and the details of his contacts with Villarejo through the lawyer Javier Iglesias, do not have sufficient entity to cite them at least as witnesses, according to the judge .
The decision not to extend the Kitchen case despite the request of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, the rest of the accusations and the defenses themselves has a direct impact on national politics: the current leader of the opposition, Pablo Casado reached the presidency of the Popular Party with the support of María Dolores de Cospedal, who later had to leave politics because of her dealings with the corrupt commissioner and is now exempted from criminal responsibility.
The magistrate considers that there are no indications against the general secretary of the PP during the Kitchen operation, despite the annotations on payments to the commissioner and the recording in which she and her husband commission him “specific jobs“The judge appeals in his car to the” right of assembly “that attended politics and the police, leader of an alleged criminal organization.
All in all, it is very likely that a whole minister of the interior and his secretary of state will sit on the bench. But if the Criminal Chamber does not correct García Castellón and force him to practice the evidence that he has denied to the Prosecutor’s Office, the Kitchen operation will remain an idea of Jorge Fernández Díaz, a member of Rajoy’s reduced circle of friends, executed by his subordinates in the Ministry. As Pablo Casado recalled after transcending the judge’s order, Fernández Díaz has been dismissed from activism and Cospedal “is innocent.”
Of the abruptness of the decision of García Castellón speaks a fact that had gone unnoticed until he issued his order to pass to abbreviated procedure. The Prosecutor’s Office requested the statement as investigated by the Director General of the Police, Ignacio Cosidó, the only one in the command ladder who escapes Kitchen. The rest of the parts I did not know and could not be pronounced. The investigating judge had stolen the knowledge of that request for a declaration of Anti-corruption.
Thus, the Kitchen operation is reduced to a politician who overreached and who had a string of commissioners and chief inspectors of the National Police placed at the service of a partisan and illegal interest. As Villarejo himself has stated, they were the same agents who attacked the opposition in Operation Catalunya. There is evidence that they repeated the ‘modus operandi’ with Podemos.
Meanwhile, one of the most uncomfortable questions will continue to hang in the air: were only police involved in Operation Kitchen? Was the Spanish intelligence service aware of the operation? Did you consent to it? Did you participate in it? This is how the number two of the Interior, Francisco Martínez, gave it to understand, before retracting, with his message deposited before a notary with Fernández Díaz about the “cecilio contact.” Or in the reflection of the motive that the investigators took from him on the participation of “other State services.”
It will have to be the congressional commission of inquiry who asks those questions to the head of the CNI then, the retired general and currently paid by Iberdrola, Félix Sanz Roldán, in an episode that once again questions his mandate, after the failure in the sovereign referendum of Catalonia and your personal involvement, if not also that of the CNI itself, in the dark episodes of the emeritus king in which his extramarital affair with Corinna Larsen and the opaque money transfer are mixed. The consensus for the general’s appearance has grown among parliamentary groups in recent weeks.
The congressional commission of inquiry is an instrument that Judge García Castellón has despised before members of his environment. One proof is the magistrate’s decision to make public the indictment of Cospedal and her husband while he was declaring this and a few hours after she did so. Manuel García Castellón had the car drawn up in the absence of a signature for days on his desk, legal sources confirm.
To the files decreed by the judge we must add the indications that were never investigated, linked to the extension of a dirty war against the opposition that the PP Government practiced during the mandate of Rajoy and in which Commissioner Villarejo always participated. It is about the aforementioned Operation Catalunya and the maneuvers against Podemos.
All the indications that have arisen during the investigation regarding the parapolice activity against the procés have ended up in a drawer of the Central Court of Instruction number 6 under the name of ‘File Taja‘. With the argument of the state secret, the judge refused to investigate the Interior orders to Villarejo in 2013 and 2014, hot period of Operation Catalunya in which the police himself has confessed his participation.
In an April 2020 order, García Castellón justified that those “functions assigned” to Villarejo that he keeps secret are accompanied by other attributions by the Ministry led by Jorge Fernández Díaz, “mainly related to the capture of information of police interest” , without the judge delving into what kind of jobs the released police officer was required to do.
In the same order, the judge drew from the case a long list of documents, under the assumption of state secret, hardly identifiable because they only appeared outlined with alphanumeric references. This newspaper was able to compare them with other documents in the 2018 summary and discovered among them there were works by the police officer on Artur Mas and “various people”, the “financing” of Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) and the former honorary consul of Latvia in Barcelona , Xavier Vinyals.
Among the documentation declassified by Interior for the Kitchen investigation appeared a receipt for 6,700 euros accompanied by the annotation “mossos”. The funds were assigned to the accused commissioner Enrique García Castaño, who the Prosecutor’s Office and judge have not allowed to explain that it was the money with which he paid for information on the process to a union of the autonomous police force.
The case of Podemos is paradigmatic. Piece 10 or the Dina case started as the theft of information from the party saved on the mobile phone of a collaborator and its subsequent publication in media related to the political brigade. But it ended with a intense instruction against the leader of the formation, Pablo Iglesias.
García Castellón returned from confinement with one main objective: to impute the Vice President of the Government in a situation of social and political tension as a result of the pandemic. But she had a problem, the two crimes attributed to her, computer damage and revealing secrets, needed her to hurt her, feel like one and report. And Dina Bousselham wasn’t going to do it. So the judge stretched the case until it was brought to the Supreme Court, ignoring the request of Iglesias’ collaborator to testify, which would have ended the investigation of the Podemos leader.
Judge García Castellón left in the background the instruction of pieces such as Kitchen or BBVA in those months of 2020 to focus on a possible crime of computer damage and destruction of a phone card of a person who did not feel harmed by it. He even planned to travel to Wales to question technicians who tried to recover the material on the card.
Against the criteria of the Criminal Chamber of the National Court, García Castellón proposed to the Supreme Court to impute Iglesias, who was then measured, but the High Court rejected this possibility and reminded him that what he had to do was call Bousselham and hear what he hadn’t wanted to hear for months. He hasn’t done it yet. To this day, the magistrate awaits a report from the Scientific Police before deciding on Iglesias, who is no longer measured.
The documentation seized from the commissioner has given to open about thirty pieces, some already closed, but only the half of the material has been decrypted. The CNI has been transferring to the court for months that it has not made progress and the commissioner still does not provide the keys.
Another of the decisions of the intense July 29 of García Castellón anticipates a cloudy future for the case. The judge filed the case against Repsol and Caixabank because they did not have to know that they were hiring an active commissioner and, therefore, the crime of bribery cannot be committed. The same could be claimed by the members of the jet who will sit on the bench in October in the first trial of the Tandem case that will host three pieces, the so-called Land, Painter and Iron. If the court accepts the thesis that the clients did not have to know that Villarejo was a policeman, the accusation of bribery, the bribery of an official, falters.
It so happens that the Ibex companies welcome the worst side of the revolving door of some special officials, the police commissioners. Companies defend their hiring because they are the most suitable experts to direct the security of companies. The private sector flatly denies this and points to another reason: their contacts in the Ministry of the Interior and in the Security Forces.
Those former senior police officers, Miguel Ángel Fernández Rancaño in the case of Caixabank, and Rafael Araújo, in the case of Repsol, are still charged. Did Villarejo’s former colleagues not know about his active status and how he accessed confidential data for his work? What the judge is clear about is that, whether they knew it or not, they never transferred it to the CEOs of the most powerful companies in the country and that they have prevention programs that they applied and that protect them from any criminal liability.
The accusations believe that after Brufau and Isidro Fainé, the next to come off the list of defendants in the Villarejo case is the CEO of Iberdrola, Ignacio Sánchez Galán. BBVA and Francisco González, who left the second bank in the country in 2019, are imputed.