The grotesque turn of the ‘Cursach case’: from asking for eight years in prison to the acquittal between the prosecutor’s tears

Tears in the last session of the trial for the Cursach case: Those of the prosecutor Tomas Herranzwhich since the oral hearing began last June, has not presented a single piece of evidence against Bartholomew Cursachthe Mallorcan nightlife tycoon, nor against his trusted men or the police officers accused of receiving perks from the Cursach emporium in exchange for illegal acts to harm the business of the competition.

Of the 24 initial defendants, after the 36 sessions of the trial, there have been two; both are local police officers from Palma de Mallorca accused of carrying out arbitrary inspections of a businessman’s premises for which two years in prison are requested. Everyone else, including Cursach and his right-hand man, Bartholomew Sbert, general director of the Cursach Group, have been left without charges against him, which means acquittal.

The closing argument of prosecutor Herranz, with crying included, it could be described as unheard of. “This report [su informe final de calificación]more than justifying before the room the withdrawal of accusations, it has another objective: to recognize before the defendants that they have suffered an injustice, and that the change of the Prosecutor’s Office represents a minimal attempt to repair the damage produced”. This has been his thesis during the trial, innocence. It must be remembered that a few days after the oral hearing began, Herranz amputated the bulk of the accusations of the Prosecutor’s Office against Cursach and his team, presenting a memorable writing full of cross-outswhich was admitted by the Chamber, despite the fact that it implied a new indictment, something that is not allowed at the beginning of an oral hearing.

At Herranz’s side, he listened undaunted to the Prosecutor Carrauwho was the one who during the investigation requested provisional prison for Bartolomé Cursach and his men, in view of the complaints and testimonies that existed about the mafia that they led in Mallorca to maintain hegemony over leisure businesses. Carrau strongly opposed the tycoon’s release. Based on the evidence of the summary, the Prosecutor’s Office came to ask for the leader of Cursach eight and a half years prison for leading a scheme of bribery to police and other officials to gain control of the nightclubs in Mallorca. The change of position of Carrau and the Prosecutor’s Office is described by various lawyers for the accusations with whom he has been able to contact this newspaper as “shameful”.

From bribery and criminal organization to “nothing criminal”

Throughout the trial, one by one all the accusations against Cursach have been deflated, for whom the Prosecutor’s Office requested at the beginning of the trial 18 months in prison, for belonging to a criminal organization, but no longer involved in the crime of bribery. But this Wednesday there was no longer a shadow of a criminal organization. “Some jurist would say that the fact that a process that ends with an acquittal is a failure of the Justice, but this, in any arc from which you look at it, has been without palliatives and thus has been recognized even by private accusations when they have stated that nothing has been proven”, said prosecutor Herranz, for whom the defendants “they have not done anything criminal”.

The fear of the witnesses was already anticipated by ‘Público’

How has this end been reached in what was one of the most ambitious, extensive and important investigations in recent decades in the Balearic Islands? The harassment of witnesses during the investigation by hitmen supposedly at the orders of those investigated has had a lot to do with it, as has the defense at all costs that the Prosecutor’s Office has made of the accused.

This newspaper revealed it in some twenty exclusives about the so-called ‘mafia’ that revolved around the nightlife businesses in Mallorca; a journalistic investigation that started through internal complaints from the local police of Calviá and Palma about bribery of agents and politicians to make life impossible for Cursach’s competition and that even splashed the opposition to enter those bodies.

The pressures on everyone who pointed to Cursach’s environment were enormous. Witness number 29 in the case had his face burned, a woman who ran a club and who testified about that mafia was beaten; and two journalists, from Diario de Mallorca and Agencia Efe, who were covering the case, had their cell phones tapped by a judge, a measure without reasoning that caused an injury to their fundamental rights, as ruled by the Constitutional Court.

The 90% of witnesses that they have marched through the trial, around some 70, have not provided the evidence for the charge that they initially had or have denied their initial accusatory testimonies; even some witnesses have not appeared and their whereabouts are unknown. “It’s normal for them to be afraid, if you see that the Prosecutor’s Office does not prosecute crimes, if you see that they are going to go unpunished and you live there with your family, then you are afraid,” he told Public Teresa Oxenthe lawyer of an injured businessman, who has had to resign the accusation because “the evidence incriminating Cursach has not been presented,” he says.

Regarding his client, Bueyes alleges that the 14 complaints that José Manuel Bover came to present in his day and that were provided in the summary, “have disappeared directly, they have not been prosecuted or filed, it is that they are not there”. The lawyer refers to “very serious acts of coercion, rubble at the door of her premises, dead meat that was left as a threat…” Bueyes points out that in this trial “fear has won, Justice has lost”, in related to the fear of witnesses to tell the truth.

Inexplicable tax performance

The audios that proved how the police mafia operated have not been provided in the trial either. The performance of the Prosecutor’s Office in the trial has been “striking”, according to legal sources to this newspaper; For example, it has dispensed with reports from the Civil Guard, Money Laundering, telephone conversations from some of those investigated that would prove “absolute control” of public institutions, such as the Calviá and Palma town halls and the Ministry of Tourism.

For Teresa Bueyes, “what has been held in Palma has not been a trial but a farce, which paves the way for the State to compensate Cursach and Sbert for having gone to jail”. It must be remembered that both spent 14 and 10 months respectively in pretrial detention. “This Wednesday we have attended the canonization process of Cursach and his family,” says Bueyes in relation to the prosecutor’s final statement.

Serious accusations against the examining magistrate

But in addition to this hypothetical compensation, the acquittal of Cursach and his followers, defended vigorously by the prosecutor Herranz, will also foreseeably serve to increase the charges against the investigating judge of the Cursach case, he already ex-judge Manuel Penalva, and against him former prosecutor Miguel Ángel Subirán. The Public Ministry has demanded another investigation for alleged crimes of illegal detention, coercion and prevarication in the instruction.

The Prosecutor’s Office affirms that in the trial there have been indications that Penalva and Subirán “pressured” witnesses and ordered “undue” arrests; He also accuses four of the witnesses who have testified in the trial of false testimony – all of them, against Cursach and his network -, among them, a Former Money Laundering Inspector.

The attacks on the judicial investigation of Penalva and Subirán were continuous during the investigation with the aim of questioning it and deflating the accusations, as has finally happened.

The prosecutor Miguel Angel Subirán came to denounce publicly through the Progressive Union of Prosecutors the harassment to which he had been subjected since the investigation began: follow-ups, harassment in his private life, a search of his home and the theft of his motorbike. There was also a media campaign; some Balearic media seemed to be the speaker of those investigated.

The final blow against the investigating judge came with the complaint by two lawyers who described alleged episodes of coercion by the judge and the prosecutor to a witness, owner of a brothel. This woman had first identified clients, police commanders and senior leaders of the PP, but then she backed down. The judge’s WhatsApp conversations with the witness were made public and he ended up being removed after a challenge. In July 2021, the CGPJ retired him due to permanent disability. Former anti-corruption prosecutor Subirán also retired early in 2020.

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