Former Esperanza Aguirre press officer: ‘They accuse me of embezzlement for hiring jobs that benefited her’ | Spain


The investigation of Punic affair accredited seven years (from 2007 to 2014) of serious corruption within the Madrid PP. The judicial summary contains numerous indications of illegal financing by means of a fund b — supplied by contractors from the Community — with which electoral acts not declared to the Court of Auditors would have been paid for; through Fundescam, the foundation of the Madrid PP which falsely invoiced, according to the investigation of the case, to circumvent the law and finance electoral acts; and through the PP government of the Community of Madrid (which financed his illegal advertising campaigns through companies to which he awarded contracts, according to the magistrate’s account).

The so-called accredited crimes have fundamentally benefited Esperanza Aguirre, PP candidate in the regional elections of 2007 and 2011. But they will only bring to the bench the former leader of the formation Beltrán Gutiérrez (electoral crime); the former PP Secretary General at the time and former adviser, Francisco Granados (electoral crime, corruption and embezzlement); and the head of the press of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Gallego (prevarication and embezzlement). The anti-corruption prosecutor’s office, in a document signed only by the last of the three prosecutors who joined the investigation, offered to file a complaint against former presidents Esperanza Aguirre and Ignacio González. And the investigating judge, Manuel García Castellón, definitively exonerated both in his indictment. The argument of the prosecutor and the judge was identical: “After the investigation carried out, it was not possible to prove that Esperanza Aguirre had knowledge of the procurement of the works, nor of their development, nor of the way which they were paid.

But some of those involved in this corruption scheme do not think the same. Journalist Isabel Gallego, general director of media in the Community of Madrid between 2003 and 2015 (with Aguirre as president until 2012 and then with González), exploded after being prosecuted. His lawyer has filed a petition for reform in which he states: “The order must be reformed because of the unfair, biased and discriminatory nature of pivoting the funding of the PP on the journalist who was in charge (Director) of the Media the CAM, which was never part of the People’s Party and on which there were many organic positions with responsibility and supervision of its management and full knowledge of its work, to which the process is archived with unequal arguments: civil servants career and auditors to the presidents of the Community, through the administrators and managers of the branch with decision-making power and necessary signature”.

The person who worked for a decade to protect Esperanza Aguirre’s image, the same person who went to great lengths to publicize all of her policies, who tried to avoid negative information against the president of the Community of Madrid for all these years, does not understand that the judge includes him among the few people prosecuted for corruption, which she attributes to the “unequal treatment granted by the judge and the prosecutors according to the particular role of each”.

Díaz Ayuso, Social Media Manager

The judge and the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office accuse Isabel Gallego of prevarication and embezzlement for hiring Alejandro de Pedro’s companies with public money from his general management to carry out propaganda campaigns in favor of Aguirre and González on social networks. Gallego replies that she did not decide on this contract, but that it was imposed on her. And he details who was responsible for these actions in the PP: “It is not insignificant to note that in 2010 the head of the communication secretariat was Lucía Figar [exconsejera de Educación en el Gobierno de Esperanza Aguirre] and that of social networks Isabel Díaz Ayuso [hoy presidenta de la Comunidad de Madrid]. This is stated in the case and in the open sources. Whoever was in charge of these tasks, the truth is that it was not Isabel Gallego. Because we must also remember that at the beginning of the 2010s, the trend, in terms of the Internet, was blogs and that each politician had his own. But, as we have clarified, they were not led by Isabel Gallego, who was not a politician either. Whether or not Alejandro de Pedro had personal relationships and/or previous negotiations with the PP, with Francisco Granados, Salvador Victoria, Borja Sarasola, Lucía Figar, Esperanza Aguirre, Ignacio González…. It is something that was completely foreign to Isabel Gallego until it was introduced to her”.

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Regarding these campaigns to improve the image of Esperanza Aguirre on social networks with public money, the judge maintains that during the first months of 2012 the Madrid president was “the beneficiary of a work of notoriety and positioning on line carried out by the companies of Alejandro de Pedro”. But she concludes that after the investigation carried out, she could not prove that “Aguirre was aware of the award of the works contracts, nor of their progress, nor of the way in which they were paid”.

Isabel Gallego rejects these arguments: “The order classifies the two former presidents without further action, but considers that there are indications of embezzlement in the person who hired the jobs which benefited them personally. To refute this conclusion, we will not dwell on the fact that the two [Aguirre y González] they were and are perfectly aware of the news that is published and that it was in their interest as presidents that their institutional image be improved. It is irrational to argue otherwise,” argues the appeal.

The former Director General of Media of the Community of Madrid explains the contractual mechanism of the reputation campaigns in favor of Aguirre and González thus: “It was agreed that the service be contracted with the budgetary funds of the General Directorate of Media , which in Absolutely nothing can be considered alien to the Ministry of the Presidency, to the Technical Undersecretary General and even to the presidents concerned themselves and, of course, neither Salvador Victoria nor Borja Sarasola. It is not Isabel Gallego who proposes Alejandro de Pedro, but rather he comes ‘imposed’ on her after having been recommended by Borja Sarasola”. And he points out: “It cannot be considered good that the general director of the media is blamed for what Francisco Granados, Esperanza Aguirre, Ignacio González, Lucía Figar, Salvador Victoria, Borja Sarasola or others have agreed, if they have done it, with Alejandro de Peter. Legal or illegal”.

Gallego does not understand how all the administrators and leaders of the PP who hired Alejandro de Pedro’s companies to carry out reputation campaigns in her favor on social networks have now been acquitted by the judge and, nevertheless, she has been prosecuted “If for the former Minister of Education, Lucía Figar, there is no crime, we lack the reasoning expressed by the judge which makes it possible to understand why the publicity made by the director general of the media about the presidents must be a crime of the Community of Madrid, nor why these [Aguirre y González] they were unaware of the case and the journalist who handled it must be prosecuted,” he insists. “And this, in addition to being contrary to the right to equality, defeats the right to judicial protection by failing to reason why what for some is lawful for Isabel Gallego is criminal.”

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