Judge drops probe into Spain's EU minister

21st December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Minister Lopez Garrido was accused by Thomas More Law Centre of illegally misappropriating public funds worth tens of thousands of euros.

Madrid – A judge in Spain Friday threw out a lawsuit filed against the secretary of state for Europe which had accused him of misappropriating public funds.

The complaint, filed by the conservative Thomas More Law Centre last month, accused Lopez Garrido of illegally granting tens of thousands of euros of government aid to the Alternatives Foundation, a think-tank close to the ruling Socialist Party and which he once headed.

The judge dismissed the case, noting that the foundation did not benefit from government aid any more than other similar institutions and that Lopez Garrido had stepped down as head of body when the grants were awarded.

The minister himself said the ruling "recognises that my attitude at all times maintained the independence and impartiality of my position".

When asked at a press conference, he hinted that he may take legal action against the Thomas More centre.

"I will devote all my energies to preparing the EU presidency and will not be distracted by other things. I'll start thinking about that possibility after June next year," he said.

As Spain's senior government official in charge of EU affairs, Lopez Garrido will have a key role to play when Madrid takes over the six-month presidency of the European Union on 1 January.

AFP / Expatica

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