POLITICAL ESPIONAGE

Justice minister was also focus of Madrid political spying

Gallardón allegedly monitored while mayor of capital, says witness

The alleged political spying of Popular Party (PP) officials in the Madrid regional and city governments orchestrated by officials in the same PP regional administration extended to then-Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, who is now the justice minister in the national government, according to an ongoing judicial probe.

José Oreja, one of the Civil Guard officers who was hired as a security advisor by then interior commissioner Francisco Granados in the Madrid regional government, has told the judge investigating the case, Carmen Valcarce, that the activities of the national government’s delegate to the region of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, as well Socialist mayors of other towns in the region and a police chief, were also monitored.

The probe previously established that then-Deputy Mayor Manuel Cobo and former justice commissioner Alfredo Prada, who were reportedly linked to a faction of the party that supports Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, were also subject to espionage. PP party baron Esperanza Aguirre, who resigned as Madrid regional premier last year, had well publicized political differences with Rajoy and Gallardón.

Oreja said he was ordered to carry out the spying activities by security chief Sergio Gamón. He said Granados, who was abruptly released from his job by Aguirre last year, was aware of what was going on. He said those subject to the spying were of particular interest to the current premier of the Madrid region, Ignacio González, who rose from Aguirre’s deputy to take over her role.

Judge Valcarce had previously twice shelved the investigation into the alleged spying that took place in 2008. The team of spies, claimed to have been hired by the region’s interior department, also included two other civil guards and three policemen.

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