The former president of Murcia has been sentenced to three years in jail for rigging the tender of an auditorium project during his time in power.
Pedro Antonio Sanchez has also been hit with a €3,600 fine and a 17-year-and-three-month disqualification from public office over the scheme which saw his architect friend awarded a public contract without competition.
The case revolves around an auditorium project in Puerto Lumbreras during Sanchez’s tenure as mayor, which he commissioned to the architect Martin Lejarraga.
The court found him guilty of organising the tender verbally with Lejarraga and doing everything possible to ‘avoid free competition among professionals in the tender’.
The former Partido Popular president was also found guilty on a second charge of agreeing to modify the project once its ‘technical and economic infeasibility’ became apparent in order to keep a €6 million regional subsidy for the development of cultural buildings.
The alterations meant that the subsidy would not be reimbursed even if the project was never finished.
Lejarraga was also found guilty for his part in the plot but escaped a prison stint, instead being disqualified from public office or employment for 16 and a half years.
The former mayor was, however, acquitted on criminal charges of fraud against the Public Administration since, according to the court, ‘the modified project was not intended to defraud the City Council.’
During the trial Sanchez denied the allegations and stated that he always acted in the public interest and in accordance with the law.
Sanchez was president of Murcia from 2015 to 2017, when he was forced to resign after becoming implicated in the ‘auditorium case’.