CORRUPTION

Álvarez will not resign from European Investment Bank over ERE case

Ex-Socialist minister is target in investigation into alleged massive Andalusian fraud scheme

Ex-Socialist minister Magdalena Álvarez outside the Seville court last November. / Raúl Caro (EFE)

Magdalena Álvarez, vice president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), said she will not be resigning over her alleged involvement in a scandal concerning the wrongful assignment of public funds while she was an official in the Andalusian government.

“I will have enough energy to show everybody what an injustice is being committed against me,” she said on Monday, just days after a Spanish judge slapped her with a civil bond of 29.5 million euros to cover her possible liability in the so-called ERE case. The former public works minister under the Socialist administration of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero also said she would appeal this bond.

Mercedes Alaya, the examining judge who is investigating the ERE case in Andalusia, feels she has enough evidence to suggest that Álvarez should be held accountable for a system that granted public subsidies meant to help struggling companies in the southern region. Many of the recipients were in fact ineligible for the aid and labor unions were also involved to some degree, the investigation has shown. Around 140 million euros may have been wrongfully awarded to businesses and individuals who had no right to the aid.

Álvarez was the Andalusian finance commissioner for three of the 10 years that the judge is investigating in the case, which spans from 2000 to 2010. She was allegedly in charge of overseeing the aid fund, which Judge Alaya believes lacked the proper oversight procedures to avoid the kind of abuse that went on over the years.

Alaya is investigating 20 current and former officials of the Andalusian government for their involvement in the case. Álvarez’s supporters claim that the judge is specifically targeting her over and above other suspects in the case.

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