Drugs, prostitution and bribes: a dark affair of corruption involving socialist elected officials is causing embarrassment within the formation of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, at the dawn of an election year that has started badly for the left.
A jackpot of 60,000 euros hidden in shoeboxes by a retired general of the Civil Guard (gendarmerie), an evening in a Madrid brothel, nights in a luxury hotel fueled with cocaine and viagra with prostitutes chosen from the catalogue: since the end of February, Spain has been living to the rhythm of revelations from the press, with supporting photos and videos, on this scandal called “Mediador”.
The case involves businessmen but also and above all elected members of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) led by Pedro Sanchez. At the heart of the investigation is Juan Bernardo Fuentes, alias “Tito Berni”, socialist deputy from the Canary archipelago pushed to resign by his party after his placement in police custody on February 14 alongside his nephew or nine CEOs.
According to a court document consulted by AFP, this 60-year-old elected official would have rendered a service to companies wishing to win public contracts, obtain European subsidies or avoid health inspections during the Covid-19 crisis, in exchange for “compensation” financial.
Transfers of 5,000 euros
To benefit from this support, the “first step” consisted in making a bank transfer of 5,000 euros to a sports association chaired by the elected representative via a Canarian businessman, Antonio Navarro – whose pseudonym (“El mediador”, the mediator) gave his name to the case.
In exchange for additional payments, of the order of 3,000 to 3,500 euros, VIP visits to the Chamber of Deputies were organized, as well as evenings in nightclubs and in a four-star hotel, specifies the court document.
According to Antonio Navarro, who has given several interviews to Spanish media in recent days, a dinner was also organized in Madrid with 15 socialist deputies in the midst of a pandemic, despite the health restrictions in force.
These revelations have caused deep embarrassment within the Socialist Party, anxious to limit the fire to less than three months before the municipal and regional elections of May 28 and only nine months before the legislative elections scheduled for the end of 2023.
“It’s disgusting behavior,” said Felix Bolanos, Minister of the Presidency and right-hand man of Pedro Sanchez, who came to power in 2018 following a no-confidence motion against the previous shaken Conservative government, at the end of last week. by a mega-corruption scandal.
“I find it incredible, (…) personally it disgusts me”, added the Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas, another heavyweight of the Socialist Party who has made the fight against prostitution one of his horses. battle and filed a bill last year to penalize customers.
“Shabby and shameful”
The PSOE defends itself by recalling that it “excluded” immediately Juan Bernardo Fuentes. The party applies “zero tolerance” towards corruption, said the president of the socialist parliamentary group in the Chamber of Deputies, Patxi Lopez.
Not enough, however, to calm the criticisms of the People’s Party (PP), which demanded – with Vox – the creation of a parliamentary commission of inquiry to “establish political responsibilities” in the Mediador affair.
“It’s so rude, so shabby, so shameful and it harms politics and institutions so much, that we can’t go on like this”, justified the president of the PP, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, who accuses the PSOE of not “provide all the information it has”.
With this case, the government “lost the confidence of the Spanish people”, insisted the leader of the conservatives who demand the organization, from May, of anticipated legislative elections of which they are given winners by the polls.