'Cash for favours' scandal comes to court
2 February 2004, CASTELLON – A wealthy businessman who accuses a leading politician of accepting EUR 48,000 in bribes appeared in court Monday to admit offences.
2 February 2004
CASTELLON – A wealthy businessman who accuses a leading politician of accepting EUR 48,000 in bribes appeared in court Monday to admit offences.
Vicente Vilar, who owns a bathroom fitting company, admitted during a four-hour hearing to "one or more" crimes against the public administration.
Vilar has claimed that he paid EUR 48,000 to Carlos Fabra, president of the provincial government in Castellon and an prominent member of the ruling right-wing Popular Party(PP).
Vilar claims the cash was officially declared for "information" from a company which was run by Fabra's family.
But in reality, Vilar says, it was cash paid for political favours and to win influence and concessions.
But Fabra denies these allegations and has made counter-allegations.
The case has scandalised Spain as Fabra is said to have links to the highest echelons of the PP and to know prime minister Jose Maria Aznar and a number of ministers.
Vilar's former wife was expected to make the same admissions in front of the same court in Nules, near Castellon, Valencia Monday.
Vilar himself arrived at 8.30am Monday and did not leave the court to confront waiting journalists at 1pm.
Vilar would only say that he had handed over all his documents and did not come to make declarations to the press then left in a waiting car.
After Vilar's declaration, there are expected to be admissions from his ex-wife Monserrat Vives and on Tuesday, Carlos Fibra, president of the provincial council of
Castellon and his wife Maria Amparo Fernandez will appear before the court.
The judge wants to examine the counter claims from each side but has not accepted either side's versión of the truth.
Vilar, owner of the firm Naranjax which produces bathroom fittings, claimed that had EUR 48,000 paid for years for non-existent reports from the company Caramacas, a company of which Fabra is the only owner.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news