The High Court judge heading up the investigation into a kickbacks-for-contracts network known as Gürtel has begun proceedings that will see 40 official suspects in the case sent to the dock for the oral trial stage.
The corruption case has plagued the governing Popular Party (PP) since Judge Pablo Ruz began to investigate it back in 2010, and among the 40 people who will now see the inside of a courtroom are the PP’s former treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, and former Popular Party minister, Ana Mato.
The scandal has already cost the jobs of dozens of PP mayors, regional deputies and councillors, as well as a senator and a member of Congress. The magistrates who will hear the evidence in this next part of the judicial investigation will be concerned with the activity of the companies that allegedly formed part of the network, which are thought to have been awarded contracts in rigged bids from PP administrations between 1999 and 2005. In exchange these administrations are suspected to have handed out massive kickbacks in exchange for the favors.
The judge has set civil bonds totaling €449 million for 36 of the official suspects in the case. The highest amount has been set for former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas, who will have to hand over €88 million, while his wife, Rosalía Iglesias, will have to pay €22 million. Francisco Correo, the alleged mastermind at the center of the companies involved, will have to pay a bond of €60 million.