The magistrate of the Supreme Court Andrés Palomo, in charge of the investigation against the PP deputy Alberto Casero, has proposed to address a request to Congress to proceed criminally against the leader upon seeing rational indications of alleged crimes of prevarication and embezzlement for certain agreements and service contracts that he made when he was mayor of Trujillo (Cáceres) in 2017 and 2018.
Palomo has raised this Monday a reasoned statement to the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court in which he collects indications that Casero -in his capacity as mayor- agreed with different people and entities different service contracts, sponsorship or agreements, “Failure to comply with all types of formality required for this purpose by the applicable regulations in each case.”
This is a necessary procedure to be able to continue with the abbreviated procedure, since it implies a formal indictment that requires prior authorization from Congress due to Casero’s status as deputy.
The Supreme Court has been investigating the leader of the PP since last March, when the Court of First Instance and Instruction of Trujillo raised a reasoned statement in which the facts attributed to the then mayor were described as a alleged continued crime of administrative prevarication. The Prosecutor’s Office, for its part, understood that there were also indications of an alleged crime of embezzlement.
Casero asked the Supreme file the procedure that is still against him considering that there are no indications that allow him to be attributed prevarication or embezzlement in the agreements and service contracts that he made when he was mayor of Trujillo (Cáceres) in 2017 and 2018. The Prosecutor opposed the request. and now the judge has confirmed his decision not to close the case and has taken the case to the Second Chamber.
Prevarication and embezzlement
In 13 pages, Judge Palomo has explained that Casero’s behavior “not only involves repeated and admitted administrative irregularities”, but a “mode of proceeding” that identifies “his voluntarism outside any interpretation with a glimmer of rationality of the legal system”.
Thus, he has underlined the “prohibited verbal or without processing or advertising in the cases that the amount required” and the “avoidance of the control mechanisms” by the former mayor. And it has affected the “direct assumption of payments” for the integrity of the services that were provided to the entity in which the municipality was only a part, something that fits with the crime of prevarication.
In addition, the magistrate has ensured that the facts investigated can also be constituting the crime of embezzlementgiven that they also reveal that he exceeded his powers of administration of the patrimony of the consistory, “causing real damage to it” by an amount that would exceed 50,000 euros for payments that “did not compete with the City Council or were made for services not rendered”.
Casero denies any crime
Since the investigations against him began, the leader of the PP has defended that, although there could be administrative problems in the agreements and contracts being investigated, there has been no prevarication on their part.
In court and later in a letter addressed to the judge, Casero recognized that “the processing of these contracts and agreements did not follow the proper administrative procedures”, and that, therefore, “can be classified as irregular or, even, if you want illegal”. He stressed, however, that “they do not represent a misuse of power”.
He insisted that “for more Administrative errors that may existand that given the functioning and precariousness of the City Council’s means, they are perfectly understandable, all the contracted work was provided, as evidenced in the corresponding sentences that condemned the payment of amounts to the City Council”.
In his opinion, “there is neither an absolute lack of grounds for adopting them nor an omission of formalities whose illegality is gross and manifestcontrary to reason and the laws, dictated capriciously”.
Contracts under suspicion
Within the framework of the procedure, several contracts that are under suspicion are investigated. According to the documentary and testimonial evidence in the case, in March 2017 Casero -in his capacity as mayor- hired a psychologist to provide services to the consistory in matters of gender violence. “He did not inform or provide the City Council with the signed contractnor was the contracting file instructed, nor was a report from the contracting authority on the need for the service, nor was the expense approved,” the judge pointed out.
Likewise, it appears that in September 2017, the then mayor of the PP signed a contract with the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Peru in Spain committing the City Council to the payment of 25,000 euroswithout informing the economic and legal services of the City Council, without the agreement being previously approved and without submitting it to public information nor be published in the BOE.
That same year, Casero would have verbally agreed to contribute 18,000 euros to an event organized by the Bon Vivant Cultural Association, without following any procedure and without informing the City Council services.
In June 2018, he signed a sponsorship contract with the same association, committing himself to a contribution of 18,000 euros, also assuming other costs, without following any contracting procedure.
There are also two other facts. On the one hand, a contract in 2018 with the company Icaro Consultores en Comunicación, SLU, for the organization of an event amounting to 14,303 euros plus VAT, without informing the competent services and without following the proper procedure.
On the other hand, there is a contract from that same year with Radio Interior SL –a contract for communication services and promotion of the Trujillo Cheese Fair– in amount greater than 15,000 euros. In that case, it resorted to the procedure of the minor contract when, due to the amount, it should have been tendered in an open procedure.