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"Camps never paid for any suit," says men's shop employee

Two employees at a fashionable Madrid men's shop said Friday that she never saw either Valencia's ex-premier Francisco Camps nor former regional Popular Party (PP) secretary general Ricardo Costa pay for any of their suits or accessories that were purchased at the store.

Instead, Víctor Sanfelipe, the assistant manager at Milano, said the suits were paid for by Pablo Crespo, the number two man in the alleged Gürtel corrupt businessman's network.

"Who paid for this was Pablo Crespo [...] whether it was for Camps, Costa or [former Valencia tourism chief Rafael] Betoret," she said during the fifth day of trial before Valencia's High Court. "The way I saw it, payments were made by bank transfer or check and they were always made by Pablo Crespo."

The disclosure that the indicted Crespo was also involved in some of the purchases was a new revelation to emerge during the four-year undercover investigation.

Some of the suits, according to prosecutors, were paid for by Álvaro Pérez, the ring's point man in Valencia. Crespo, a former top Galicia PP official, is out on bail awaiting his own trial on a host of Gürtel-related charges. Camps and Costa are on trial for bribery in connection to receiving suits and other accessories from the Gürtel ring, led by Crespo and his boss Francisco Correa, in exchange for winning fat contracts with the regional government. According to prosecutors, one of the ring's companies, Orange Market, received a lot of business from Camps' PP administration to organize special events. Orange Market was run by Pérez, who was commonly referred to in Gürtel circles as "the mustache."

Camps and Costa maintain they paid for their own clothes but never purchased anything from Milano. However, cashier Elena Rodríguez's testimony refuted their version. "I never saw any of them in the store. I know for a fact that those suits were sent to Camps."

All under one account

Rodríguez said that tailor José Tomás, who has also told investigators that Camps never paid for his suits, traveled to Valencia with Pérez specifically to take measurements for Costa, Betoret and deputy regional premier Víctor Campos. Betoret and Campos pleaded out over the summer while Camps and Costa decided to stand trial.

As part of the store's bookkeeping, the bills for the suits were eventually combined under one budgetary item listed only as "Valencia region," she said.

Prosecutor Concepción Sabadell presented bills that the four officials spent at Milano, mostly in January 2006, with the following breakdowns: Betoret, 3,250 euros; Camps 3,300 and 1,400 euros, Campos 4,850 euros, and Costa 2,400 euros.