“Everyone was absolutely aware of what was going on, they knew what was going on.” With these words, prosecutor Fernando Prieto turned to the Supreme Court with a request to confirm the convictions of all those involved in the ERE Andalusia case. Over the course of several hours of interference, which continues to this day, the two prosecutors in the case challenged before the criminal court the arguments presented by the defense yesterday to seek an acquittal.
As for the prosecutor’s office, all the political leaders of the Andalusian Junta and various ministries, especially the Department of Employment, were aware of the lack of control over aid and did nothing. “No one paid attention to the reports, and everyone is shirking their duties,” the prosecutor said before throwing a rebuke: “Does anyone believe that this is possible with direct control? What message are we conveying to the citizen?” he said.
“These are not violations, these are obvious violations, and this is a clear loss of the state treasury,” the Prieto prosecutor told the lawyers of 19 convicts. In terms of public prosecution, the aid system, which sent 679 million euros between 2000 and 2009 to help companies with public money from the Andalusian government, was illegal from start to finish: “None of the 270 files matched any of the requirements, there was not even a procedure,” he said.
This assistance system, prosecutors stressed, was opaque and prevented other possible companies that needed money from accessing it. The files, according to Prieto, are “in limbo” and it is “impossible” for other petitioners to “access help,” he said.
Prosecutor Fernando Prieto’s accusations came after yesterday’s lawyers for all the defendants demanded an acquittal from the same criminal court. “We are faced with colossal and ongoing speculation,” said, for example, the defense of former employment minister José Antonio Viera, who accused the Seville court of sentencing 19 people on the basis of “badly fabricated and repetitive speculations” in a text of more than 1,800 pages “extremely flawed with technical point of view.”
Lawyers for former Andalusian presidents Manuel Chávez and José Antonio Grignan discussed sentences of nine years in disqualification and six years in prison. The lawyer for the former, for example, focused his speech on defending that all agreements signed by Chaves cannot be considered a resolution for the purposes of a possible crime of evasion. Grignan’s lawyer, for his part, argued that an allegedly fraudulent aid system was already in place when he joined the Junta of Andalusia.
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