Photo: Albert Rivera archive photo (Credit: Tània Tapia)
By Directe.cat Staff Writers
15 February, 2018
In the midst of the war between the Partido Popular and Ciudadanos in Spain, the PP have called for testimony by members of the Platform for Citizen Guarantees, expelled acrimoniously from Albert Rivera’s party, to reveal irregularities in the funding of the orange party. This occurred this Thursday, in front of the committee investigating party finance, driven solely by the PP, thanks to its absolute majority in the Senate; a kind of revenge for the investigations that are being carried out by the opposition in Congress around the ‘Caja B’ corruption case, of Mariano Rajoy.
Attorney Alberto Ganga, who denounced Ciudadanos (although the Prosecutor’s Office did not open an investigation), acted as spokesman and asserted that the party had directed money from the municipal and autonomous community level groups to party finance. “The Court of Auditors detected that campaign bills were invoiced to municipal and autonomous groups […] some groups were billed before they were even formed as groups,” he said.
As for how Albert Rivera’s money was handled, he explained that there was a single account – in the name of a manager, Carlos Cuadrado, and the Secretary General, José Manuel Villegas – with other accounts to take charge of the expenses of the municipal groups. According to Ganga, who flatly stated that Rivera and Villegas were managing “irregular” financial processes, the transfers had to be authorized by the two account holders.
On another front, the lawyer related a supposed system of “services rendered contracts” which allegedly served to transfer money from groups to parties without a “report” which justified it, and without it having to be taxed. It was essentially a type of franchise structure to charge for services to municipal groups.
Finally, Ganga also said that (in this case) he had “suspicions” of other irregular practices in relation to the membership fees paid by party affiliates. “Nobody received a certificate of payment for their fees […] We discovered that when people unsubscribed it was not real or effective. Many people had to ask for this to be done via burofax. We therefore had suspicions that they could be charging for contributions for affiliates which were no longer affiliated. We have always had serious doubts in this regard”, he concluded.