THE FORMER Socialist Party deputy at the centre of a corruption scandal, Juan Bernardo Fuentes Curbelo, went to a brothel on the day that his party issued a condemnation of prostitution in the Congress of Deputies.
‘Tito Berni’, as Fuentes is commonly known, frequented the establishment on September 23, 2020. The date not only coincides with the statement from his party in Congress, but also the second wave of Covid-19 in Spain.
Fuentes is in the centre of the so-called ‘Mediator Case’, a corruption scandal in which he and other figures, including a Civil Guard chief, are accused of running a network where they accepted bribes for political favours.
Those involved in the scandal are also accused of spending their ill-gotten gains on parties involving drugs, alcohol and prostitutes. Compromising photos of Fuentes with sex workers have been published in the Spanish press.
On the day in question, the government of Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez condemned prostitution in Congress to coincide with the International Day Against Sexual Exploitation and the Trafficking of Women and Children.
The National Police also used the occasion to launch a campaign targeting men who pay for sex: ‘If you are a client, you are paying for slavery’, was the slogan.
The revelation was contained in the court investigations into the scandal, and which were reported on by Spain’s online daily El Confidencial.
The ‘Mediator Case’ comes at a delicate time for the Socialist Party, with regional and local elections scheduled for May. A general election is also due to be held at the end of 2023.
The opposition Popular Party on Wednesday registered an investigatory commission in Congress, while earlier in the week far-right Vox said it would act as private prosecution in the court probe investigating the scandal.
The case came to light on February 14 when a series of arrests were carried out in the Canary Islands and in mainland Spain.
The network is alleged to have offered business figures advantages when bidding for public contracts in exchange for payoffs, as well as extorting businesses in the farming sector in exchange for positive inspections or European Union funding.
Fuentes was immediately stripped of his role as a deputy and was thrown out of the Socialist Party. Sources from the government told Spanish news agency Europa Press on Tuesday that they think this swift action will protect them from damage at the upcoming polls.
Opposition parties, meanwhile, are taking advantage of the scandal for political gain.