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Prosecutors want Valencia chief to stand trial for apparel payoffs

Camps should pay a fine for Gürtel garment gifts, court is told

nti-corruption prosecutors on Friday said there is strong evidence to put Valencia regional premier Francisco Camps on trial for bribery, and are asking a judge to order him to pay a 41,250-euro fine for receiving clothes worth more than 14,000 eurosfrom a corrupt network of businessmen.

In a strongly worded motion filed with Valencia's regional High Court, the prosecution rejected Camps' petition to drop the investigation against him.

Between 2005 and 2008, prosecutors say the Valencia leader received "at least" 12 dress suits, four sports jackets, five pairs of shoes and four ties from the mastermind behind the Gürtel corruption network, Francisco Correa, and his two assistants Pablo Crespo and Álvaro Pérez.

Correa, Crespo and Pérez- the first two remaining in prison as they await trial- have all been formally accused in the massive kickbacks-for-contracts inquiry which has engulfed the conservative Popular Party (PP).

Camps is being charged under the law in existence when he allegedly committed the crimes, which calls only for a fine, prosecutors explained. Under the new law passed last year, he could face up to a year in prison and suspension from office. Prosecutors are also asking for fines for Ricardo Costa, who was PP secretary general in Valencia at the time, and for Rafael Betoret, the region's former tourism chief.

One regional lawmaker, Enric Morera of the political group Compromís, urged Camps to step down. "Again, we ask him to resign so he doesn't continue to tarnish the image of the office he holds." PP leader Mariano Rajoy had been adamant in the past that Camps will run for reelection in May. But at press time the PP hadn't issued a statement.