WITH a network of crooked politicians, dirty cops, wiretaps and secret bank accounts, it might be the plot of a blockbuster Hollywood crime thriller.
But these are just some of the astonishing accusations that have come to light in the ongoing ‘caso Kitchen’, that saw former National Police chief Jose Villarejo and six other policemen in court in Madrid on Wednesday (October 13).
Villarejo was allegedly the head of a police spying network that aimed to protect high-ranking politicians from a corruption investigation. The group used a variety of surveillance methods, including wiretaps, to spy against disgraced PP party treasurer Luis Barcenas.
Barcenas, father of Spanish pijo pop star Willy Barcenas, lead singer of Taburete, is currently serving over 30 years in prison. He was convicted in 2013 for running a parallel bookkeeping system to keep track of hidden funds used by the Partido Popular. Barcenas was PP treasurer at the time.
The bookkeeping system aimed to hide secret bank accounts and payments to national and regional politicians in the Gurtel corruption scandal. This saw senior politicians in Madrid and in the Valencia Region were handed millions in black money in return for building licences. Barcenas then channeled the crooked cash into secret Swiss bank accounts.
In a further twist, two senior Madrid politicians have also been accused of being involved in the spying operation.
The judge believes Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez and PP secretary general Maria Dolores de Cospedal asked Villarejo to ‘carry out tasks paid for with PP funds.’
Villarejo, who has been held in custody since 2017, allegedly made millions from the cloak-and-dagger black operations he ran for 20 years.
His spying network allegedly kept tabs on judges, politicians, journalists and businessmen.
Court documents show that Villarejo and other senior cops persuaded the Barcenas family chauffeur – a policeman named Sergio Rios – to aid them.
After a five year investigation, dozens of businessmen and politicians, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, were linked to the corruption case, leading to a vote of no confidence in the government.
The case has also sent shockwaves through the Spanish jet set. Among the accused are property developer Juan Munoz Tamara, husband of Spanish TV presenter Ana Rosa Quintana, and Susana Garcia, President of La Finca, one of Madrid’s most exclusive gated communities, where footballers Iker Castillas, Cristiano Ronaldo, and bad boy chef David Munoz have homes.
The caso Kitchen looks certain to stir things up for Madrid´s political and society scene for some time to come.