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Tamaño letra

Popular Party tries to tie up Valencia chief's bribery case

Strategy seen as maneuver to keep Camps out of court until after May race

In a last-minute attempt to keep Valencia regional premier Francisco Camps from having to appear in court before elections in May, lawyers from the Popular Party (PP) filed a motion asking that the bribery investigation he faces be sent back to a judge in Madrid.

Presented last week, the appeal would buy the PP time by tying up the case until after the May 22 regional race, in which Camps plans to run for reelection. The move comes after Valencia regional High Court Judge José Flors asked prosecutors and Camps' legal team to present their arguments as to why he should or should not go to trial over allegations that he received suits and other apparel as gifts from the Gürtel network of corrupt businesses in exchange for political favors.

Madrid regional High Court Judge Antonio Pedreira, who is leading the Gürtel probe, turned over the Camps case to his Valencian counterpart because the allegations concerned elected officials from that region.

PP lawyers had successfully ensured Pedreira recuse himself from the Camps investigation in 2009 but now want him to assume jurisdiction arguing, among other things, that it was the only way "to defend the name and honor" of the PP in Valencia.