Although he tried very hard to get out of it and although is he is not accused of any wrongdoing, Mariano Rajoy has testified in court this morning (Wednesday) making him the very first Spanish Prime Minister ever to do so.
His appearance is in relation to “The Gurtel Case”, Spain’s biggest ever corruption scandal, a trial that involves 37 defendants, including 3 former PP Treasurers, and over 300 witnesses, and one which involves the relationship between business and politics during Spain’s construction boom, which ended when the property bubble finally exploded in 2008.
Rajoy has been summoned because the affair centres round a former businessman, Francisco Correa, who liked to be called Don Vito, after a character in The Godfather, and who is considered to be the mastermind behind the bribes-for-contracts network, a large corruption scheme that has been affecting the PP since 2009.
Mariano Rajoy became leader of the Partido Popular in 2004 prior to which he held many senior positions in the party. During his appearance in court he insisted he had no friendly relations with Correa and “never dealt with party financial matters”.
The prosecution claims that during the pre-2008 property boom, companies gave former PP lawmakers and civil servants kickbacks in return for contracts.
Earlier in the year, Correa and two top aides were found guilty in connection with a section of the Gürtel case known as Fitur that involved embezzlement, influence peddling, bribery of public officials and conspiracy in the Valencia region. They were sentenced to prison terms of 13 years each.
Meanwhile, outside the court, over 30 protesters blew whistles and held placards demanding “Justice” and “Make the PP illegal”.