The General of the Civil Guard Francisco Espinosa Navas, the alleged ringleader together with the former Socialist deputy Juan Bernardo Fuentes Curbelo, Tito Berniof the plot dismantled in the mediator case, has decided to defend himself against the serious accusations of corruption that have landed him in prison with a furious attack on Antonio Navarro Tacoronte, his informer. In the letter with which on February 26 he asked Judge María de los Ángeles Lorenzo-Cáceres, who is investigating the case, to release him —Espinosa is the only defendant who has entered preventive detention— the high command of the armed institute He accuses the mediator of creating a “parallel fiction”, a “rocambolesque framework”, “a fabled reality” which he comes to call “the Tacoronte theater”, in which both he and the accused businessmen allegedly fell.
Espinosa, who assures that after the media coverage of the case he is already “a social corpse”, tried in the letter to refute the evidence collected by the investigation against him in the case, not always with success. In fact, he is not able to justify the origin of all the money found hidden in his home and acknowledges that he has an account in Belgium that he had not declared to the Tax Agency, although he denies irregularities in any of these events. . The magistrate rejected his request days later and keeps him in prison.
In the letter, to which EL PAÍS has had access, the general’s defense attacks the mediator, whom he considers “the main and almost only source of evidence” against him. To discredit him, he highlights his criminal record – which includes seven convictions for different crimes, including robbery with violence -, his time in prison and his alleged “relationship” with two other legal cases, one of them drug trafficking. Espinosa was also investigated before by the courts, specifically, in 2010, for another case of corruption in the Canary Islands, the so-called union case. Then the investigators considered him suspected of leaking confidential information to some of those involved, but finally the courts closed the case against him.
The high command also stated that Navarro Tacoronte allegedly tried to deceive a Canarian mayor and a PSOE senator by presenting himself with positions in the party and in the Canarian government that he did not have. “This is the personal and criminal profile of Antonio Navarro, who boasts of being the ‘mediator’, who goes from newspaper to newspaper and from radio to radio, sowing ‘his fiction’ to everyone who pays attention and rudely manipulating already his whim reality ”, adds the letter.
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In his defense, the general argues that the audios that the mediator recorded with his cell phone and that have been incorporated into the summary (a total of 128 gigabytes of information that is still being analyzed by the Police), together with his three judicial statements, lead “to such a distortion of reality” that it allowed him not only to deceive the businessmen and the high command, but also “is projecting the deception” both to the judge herself and to the Prosecutor’s Office. “In all this assembly promoted, concocted, executed and used by Navarro Tacoronte himself, what underlies is a great scam that has him as the only beneficiary,” he continues in the letter, in which he does not hesitate to describe the general and the other businessmen involved as “damaged and victims”. The high command assures that he fell into the “deception” because the mediator proposed that, once he retired, he would “incorporate him into his business project as director of Institutional Relations” in exchange for a monthly salary of 5,000 euros and a card for representation expenses.
Espinosa also tries to explain some of the evidence collected against him by investigators. Regarding the account in Belgium, of which the Tax Agency had informed that it had not been declared, he assures that “he had to open it, several years ago and due to the requirement of his position”, in reference to his status as director of the GAR-Project. SI Sahel, funded by the European Commission to strengthen security in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Chad. As he emphasizes in his letter, in that account, he received his “pay from the EU”, in addition to “some income” from the deposit that he and his wife had in a bank in Spain. However, the report prepared by the Internal Affairs Service of the Civil Guard states that, at least between January and May 2021, the pay slips for his work in the GAR-SI Sahel Project were not received in that Belgian account, but in the one I had in Spain.
Regarding the 61,110 euros in bundles of bills that the Civil Guard located at his home in Madrid, the general alleges that it came from the cash withdrawals he made in his accounts between 2019 and 2021, although he admits that these movements add up to 51,500 euros, that is, , almost 10,000 euros less than the money found. During his statement before the judge, he stated: “I have earned a lot of money during my professional life.” Now in his writing, he argues that “it’s not necessarily illegal to have cash at home.” However, he admits that he received 1,500 euros in cash from the mediator in a meeting whose sound was recorded by the latter. The general tries to justify it in that this money was “charged to the future society” in which both were going to participate and assures that Navarro “forced him to count the bills to leave a sound record of that single delivery” and, in this way, “to have caught” the high command.
Espinosa, who denies having asked any businessman for money or having received it, does admit to receiving gifts, such as cigars and a bottle of vodka, as well as several trips, hotel stays and meals, although he justifies them by saying that he “thought” that everything this was paid by the mediator and not by the businessmen. He even tries to downplay several of his allegedly incriminating claims — including his request for a job for a woman with whom he was romantically involved — by claiming they were “the product of bragging.”
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