The National Court prosecutes another former senior official of the Valencian PP

The National Court has proposed sending another former senior PP official in the Valencian Community to the bench. The investigating judge Manuel García-Castellón has prosecuted Serafín Castellano, former minister of the Valencian Generalitat and former delegate of the Government, for allegedly forming part of the baptized as fire cartelan alleged criminal organization that agreed to alter the hiring and awarding of firefighting contracts in the air navigation sector through the corruption of officials and authorities.

Through an order issued on May 11, where a total of 32 people are prosecuted, an investigation that the Prosecutor’s Office began in 2014, and which the National Court took over in 2017, ends. According to the judge, it has been ” sufficiently accredited” that those involved joined forces to “alter” the public contracting and adjudication processes. They did it “for profit and through multiple schemes and mechanisms”, “corrupting through economic compensation multiple officials and authorities”, in charge of making key decisions.

The magistrate describes how the aforementioned businessmen and their companies “geographically distributed the public contracting market in the sector, as well as the specific contracting procedures.” To do this, the instructor continues in his indictment, they “even” held “meetings in which they pre-established which specific companies would attend (and which would not) to said processes, in what areas of influence, with what rotating shifts, when in form of Temporary Union of Companies (UTE)”. “Establishing, in addition, successive compensations and economic settlements,” the judge emphasizes.

The summary highlights that the fixes not only took place in Spain, but also in other countries: “And on occasions it caused some contest to be left unfilled, generating a subsequent increase in the bidding price in the negotiated procedure without publicity.” García-Castellón details that only in the Valencian Community, where the “main infractions” have been verified, contracts for more than 151 million euros were closed between 1999 and 2017.

Gifts: watches, vehicles or weapons

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According to the investigations, the investigators conclude that the plot corrupted authorities and officials “through gifts.” “And there has been a systematic action to generate patronage attitudes in the field of the administration involved in the sector,” specifies the judge, who lists gifts such as cash, vehicles, hunts, firearms, watches, jewelry and stays in hotels. For example, the resolution of the instructor specifies that the former minister Serafín Castellano received, only for issues related to hunting activities, gifts worth more than 160,000 euros.

Castellano came to power in the Valencian Community at the hands of the conservative party. He was provincial president of the PP in Valencia; general secretary of the autonomic party; regional deputy; mayor of Benisanó (Valencia); counselor with Eduardo Zaplana, Francisco Camps and Alberto Fabra; and Government delegate with Mariano Rajoy, a position he held when he was arrested in 2015.

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