Brugal case not expected to reach court for another 3 years

Former mayors of Orihuela Mónica Lorente and José Manuel Medina
Former mayors of Orihuela Mónica Lorente and José Manuel Medina

Although it is understood that firm dates are still to be set for the trial, a police escort is said to have moved 81 volumes of documentary evidence to the Palace of Justice in Elche last week, where a court for the trial known as ‘The Brugal Case’ has now been designated.

The case will hear evidence against a total of 34 defendants, including the former mayors of Orihuela Mónica Lorente and José Manuel Medina, as well as the millionaire businessman Ángel Fenoll.

Presiding over the trial will be Judge Manel Martínez Aroca, while Gracia Serrano and José Teófilo Giménez will prosecute. However the complexity of the case and the number of defendants that are being prosecuted will make it difficult for the oral hearing to be held in under three years.

The defendants are all charged with crimes of fraud, prevarication, bribery, entering into negotiations prohibited to officials, influence peddling, sharing of privileged information, and electoral crime, conspiracy, disclosure of secrets, extortion and coercion in varying degrees.

The Orihuela court has already set a bond of six million euros for the defendants who are also likely to face civil claims if they are convicted.

The investigation was first opened back in 2006 after Ángel Fenoll denounced the existence of alleged bribes in the public tender to award the Orihuela waste contract, worth millions of euros.

However, as the investigation got underway, Fenoll went from denouncer to being investigated himself, when it was found that the businessman had used recordings to extract money from politicians in order that his company could continue with the contract.

The public prosecutor is said to be asking for a jail sentence of 37 years for Angel Fenoll; twelve years for José Manuel Medina and eight for Monica Lorente.

According to the charge, Medina was paying bills without a contract for many years to Colsur and Proambiente, companies belonging to Fenoll; while Lorente is alleged to have delayed the public tender in exchange for the Vega Baja industrialist to support her in her political career.