Two years of García Castellón against Podemos: nine suspects, no accused

The result of the two investigations that Manuel García Castellón has undertaken against Podemos since 2020, the Dina case and that of the alleged irregular financing, have resulted in the file after carrying out instructions that have produced shocking headlines in the media, revocations and warnings by of the higher instance of the National High Court and have ended without the judge being able to attribute the status of defendant to any of the nine members of the formation whom he placed as suspects in both cases.

The last of the cars of the Criminal Chamber, in which García Castellón is ordered to file the case for the alleged payments of Venezuela, speaks of invasion of fundamental rights in a "prospective" investigation, a warning that had already been made to the magistrate in a previous order and that he has tried to circumvent by "artificially" expanding the investigation, according to the resolution of the Third Section, chaired by Alfonso Guevara.

The magistrate had ordered the Police to track bank accounts of individuals and legal entities that did not even have the status of being investigated, in search of a crime of illegal financing that did not exist when the events occurred. The The origin of the case is, in addition, a dossier of the PP political brigade, made in 2016whose content was disregarded by the Supreme Court and which five years later has been seasoned with some "Third-party narratives" by ex-military Hugo 'El Pollo' Carvajal. According to the judges of the Criminal Chamber, the former head of Hugo Chávez's military intelligence only wanted to "delay" his extradition to the United States.

The case started in October 2021, in secret, although several media outlets named the suspects that García Castellón was tracking. All of them founders of Podemos and linked in turn to some companies through which funds from the Chavista regime would have been received. Those names were Juan Carlos Monedero, Carolina Bescansa, Jorge Lago and Ariel Jerez. Monedero was also requested to trace his trips to Latin America. None of those mentioned have come to appear as investigated -the formula that replaced the accused in the reform of the Criminal Procedure Law of the PP Government-, nor have they been called to testify and they have not had and do not have the possibility of accessing the proceedings. in which they have been repeatedly mentioned.

García Castellón's instruction has been brief when compared to the time that the magistrate pursued the imputation of Pablo Iglesias, while today's political commentator was Vice President of the Government. The piece intended to investigate the alleged participation of Villarejo in the dissemination of the material from the phone stolen from the politician's former collaborator was reconverted by the magistrate at a given moment in the 'Pablo Iglesias case'.

For two years, the judge ordered all kinds of proceedings, without consulting the Prosecutor's Office, including an international rogatory commission for a crime of computer damage. The judge, sources from the National Court confirm, came to consider traveling in person to Wales to question the computer scientist who tried to recover the content of the card stolen from Iglesias's former adviser at the request of her ex-partner.

On March 27, 2019, Pablo Iglesias and Dina Bousselham had secretly appeared before the judge because among the material seized from Villarejo, some folders had appeared with copies of the politician's former collaborator's mobile phone. Iglesias explained to the judge that this material had been published in a medium editorially opposed to Podemos to harm the party, coinciding with the frustrated negotiations of 2016 to form a government with the PSOE.

In the magistrate's response, at least part of the explanation may be found for the outstanding interest that Manuel García Castellón himself began to have some time later in everything that involved attributing a crime to Iglesias or to another person in charge of Podemos. “I am glad that you have explained it like this, so well, because I have understood it. Indeed, in the procedure that is being followed in this way, and that you will learn about in the press, with respect to Mr. Villarejo, there are very serious indications from the Ministry of the Interior.” Everything that happened after the confinement was directed in the opposite direction: the judge stripped Iglesias of the condition of being harmed and tried by all means to have him investigated. “He felt cheated”, they try to excuse him around him.

Upon returning from confinement, and according to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, García Castellón considered Pablo Iglesias suspected of a crime of revealing secrets and another of computer damage for having kept for months the mobile card that those responsible for Grupo Zeta had given him. and that it was the property of Dina Bousselham, to whom she would have returned the already unusable device.

Bousselham's version changes contributed to this, although fifteen months earlier, both she and Iglesias had already told the judge that the card had been in the hands of the politician for months. In any case, Anticorruption warned that if the affected party did not feel harmed by Iglesias, the law did not allow accusing the Vice President of the Government of any of these crimes.

For months, the investigation of pieces of the Villarejo case as relevant as BBVA or Kitchen ceased to be the priority in a court overwhelmed with work to focus on an investigation in which the criminal organization or bribery that is the focus of the Tándem case did not appear, but an alleged revelation of secrets and another crime of computer damage.

The same Third Section that has just forced García Castellón to close the secret and "prospective" investigation for the alleged irregular financing of Podemos returned the condition of “injured” to Iglesias for the dissemination in various media of the information on Bousselham's cell phone, copies of which had been found in Villarejo's possession. Any other investigation that left Villarejo out of the maneuver was nothing more than "alternative hypotheses" under the jurisdiction of ordinary courts, they warned him from the Criminal Chamber.

But the judge went ahead until writing a reasoned statement that he sent to the Supreme Court, before which Iglesias was still registered as a member of the Government. In it he accused the second vice president of the Government of discovering and revealing secrets with "gender aggravation", computer damage, false complaint and simulation of crime.

That the judge had felt cheated by Iglesias is evident in that reasoned statement. You can also see how he regrets that his supposed mistake was used by Iglesias politically, by making this "sewer attack" one of the apexes of the last electoral campaigns. In the brief sent to the Supreme Court, the judge described as "conscious and planned false action displayed by Mr. Iglesias with his persona, pretending before public opinion and before his electorate, to have been the victim of a fact that he knew did not exist, a few weeks before of a general election.

García Castellón had called a key witness for him to testify, José Manuel Calvente, a lawyer whom Podemos had improperly fired. Calvente declared what García Castellón considered definitive to go to the Supreme Court, a "meticulous" detail of the Iglesias plan to take advantage of the Dina case electorally. Calvente stated in court that the Dina case was "a set-up" and that a person who refused to give his name recognized it as such. “I have quite a discussion with this person, I don't want to say the name. They confirm it to me like this, they tell me clearly [que fue un montaje]”, Calvente said in court.

Manuel García Castellón also requested the imputation of the person in charge of the legal strategy, Gloria Elizo; of the lawyers of the formation Raúl Carballedo and Marta Flor; and Ricardo Sa Ferreira, Bousselham's former partner. Nor did any of them ever become charged. The Supreme Court rejected the reasoned statement against the then qualified Pablo Iglesias and, by extension, against all of them.

Everything could have been avoided if García Castellón had summoned Bousselham to corroborate what Iglesias's former collaborator had put in writing, that she did not consider that Iglesias had harmed her in any way. This was repeatedly requested by the Prosecutor's Office. Instead, the judge ordered Bousselham to stop sharing a lawyer with Iglesias. The Supreme Court also included Dina Bousselham's statement among the proceedings that it ordered García Castellón to dictate, but the magistrate continued to delay what would have meant the end of the 'Pablo Iglesias case'.

Calvente's accusations prospered before the Court of Instruction number 42 of Madrid, where Judge Juan José Escalonilla maintains accused Podemos himself, Juan Carlos Monedero and press officer Juanma del Olmo, among other members and party officials. Box B, which Calvente claimed worked in training, was judicially discarded months ago, also alluding to “rumors”, it will be next July when Escalonilla decides whether to extend the investigation of the Neurona case, prosecute the accused or file the case. The Prosecutor's Office does not appreciate a crime in the only one of the pieces that is still open of the seven that the judge started.

Even after the Supreme Court rejected the indictment of Iglesias, García Castellón continued with his 'Pablo Iglesias case', especially after the former leader of Podemos left the Government and therefore lost his status. Until the last possibility, a police report in which it was certified that it was impossible to determine who had caused the damage to the mobile card, reached the court last January.

It still remained to interrogate Bousselham and the head of the political brigade, Commissioner Eugenio Pino, to whom Villarejo confessed that he had given him a copy of the phone. Anticorruption and the Criminal Chamber had put in writing to the judge that the "main hypothesis" was that the alleged Villarejo criminal organization was the author of the dissemination of that private information, even though Bousselham had admitted that she sent some documents that she had saved on her phone to third parties.

Given the impossibility of imputing Iglesias, García Castellón decided to close the investigation of the so-called Dina caseleaving two journalists and Villarejo indicted, and ignoring any investigation that would determine how information hosted on the phone of a collaborator of Iglesias reached various media outlets.

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