Ex-Spanish minister fined for hunting without licence

5th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Mariano Fernandez Bermejo, a repeat offender, was handed the higher than usual fine of EUR 2,000 as the hunting trip with judge Baltazar Garzon had created much controversy in the political scene.

MADRID – Regional authorities in Spain Wednesday slapped former Spanish justice minister Mariano Fernandez Bermejo, who resigned last week, with a fine of EUR 2,000 for hunting without a licence.

Bermejo stepped down on 23 February amid a political uproar that erupted when it was reported that the boar-hunting trip's party included top judge Baltazar Garzon who is investigating members of the opposition Popular Party (PP) for corruption.

The PP, which has dismissed the investigation as a witch-hunt, had called for Bermejo to resign, saying that the hunting trip made at the start of February was evidence that the governing Socialists were too close to the judiciary.

Bermejo was already under pressure due to a strike by judges and court staff angry over poor working conditions and a huge backlog of cases.

Jose Castro, head of the environmental affairs department in Jaen in the southwestern region of Andalusia where the hunting trip took place, announced the fine on Wednesday. Bermejo has 15 days to appeal the ruling.

Fines for hunting without a licence in the region vary between EUR 601 and EUR 4,000 but offenders usually get a lower fine.

Bermejo was handed a higher fine than usual because he had already been found to have gone hunting without a licence in the past and due to the "public trouble" caused by the affair, Castro said.

AFP / Expatica

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