Zaplana’s bites: an apartment in Madrid, two penthouses on the beach, a boat, a private cruise and a lot of cash | Valencian Community | The USA Print

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Eduardo Zaplana, upon his arrival this Wednesday at the Tres Cantos Civil Guard Command (Madrid).
Eduardo Zaplana, upon his arrival this Wednesday at the Tres Cantos Civil Guard Command (Madrid).Juanjo Martin (EFE)

The prosecution of the former president of the Generalitat Valenciana and former Minister of Labor, Eduardo Zaplana, has brought to light the fate that the leader of the PP gave to part of the alleged bribes obtained in the award of the Valencian wind power plan and the ITV stations of the territory. The judge, in the car that brings Zaplana closer to the defendant’s bench, details some purchases that the investigation has been able to identify as being made with the illicit money from the commissions. An apartment on Nuñez de Balboa street in the Salamanca district of Madrid, two penthouses in the Alicante town of Altea, a boat, a private cruise, recreational trips to Croatia, Italy and the Costa Azul, plane tickets to Morocco and Switzerland , and to the cities of Prague and Genoa (Italy) and another 22 flights to Milan, Madeira and London, in addition to cash, a lot of cash that arrived at Zaplana by different routes and always with enough measures so that its name did not appear anywhere. However, from the documentation seized, the notes of a detailed agenda of the former minister himself and the testimony of many witnesses, including some involved, the judge has concluded that the amount of illicit commissions received by the plot of the wasteland case amounted to 15 million euros. The awards to the family group of Juan, Vicente and José Cotino brought them benefits of more than 86 million euros, “so they could afford to pay high commissions,” says the judge.

Eduardo Zaplana told Fernando Belhot, the man who devised financial engineering to try to dissipate the origin and destination of money, that he was the biggest owner of the companies with which the money was handled, but that “he had not wanted to appear as the owner of said financial assets because he had been a person with very important public activity”, as stated in the indictment.

Thus, for example, the purchase, for 1.6 million euros, of the apartment in the Madrid neighborhood of Salamanca was made through a company. Eduardo Zaplana, who is accused of the alleged crimes of criminal organization, money laundering, bribery, prevarication and false documentation, does not appear in the company’s official records, but the Civil Guard assures that he was the only one who lived in that house . The real estate agent assured that she went to Zaplana to whom she showed the house for which she showed great interest. The concierge claimed to have seen him several times and that he “usually used the forklift.” The ones he did see were both the ex-minister’s escort and his driver. “Zaplana was the only person who used the house and the things that were in the house, such as clothes, belonged to him,” said the domestic worker.

The documentation seized from the personal secretary of the former minister, Mitsouko Henríquez, has also provided evidence that has led to the prosecution of the PP leader. This has happened with copies of “bearer checks used to buy high-end watches or renovations to Núñez de Balboa’s apartment, or the purchase of two televisions for said apartment” that Henríquez personally collected.

In addition to these goods, according to the judge’s order, Zaplana asked him for amounts in cash. They were, according to the indications, 2.3 million euros over seven years. One of the systems used was that of moneychangers, “a form that is very common in South America and that consists of these moneychangers receiving the money and in turn facilitating another person to carry out the delivery of the money in the interested country to the person who designated, always doing so in cash, leaving no trace of it and in this particular case, the recipient of that money is Eduardo Zaplana’s secretary.”

The former minister’s driver also acted as a porter. This is what the judge points out, explaining that it was he who transported a white envelope with 50,000 euros to the Telefónica headquarters, where Zaplana worked for 10 years as a delegate for Europe until in May 2018 he was fired after being arrested. The former minister was in preventive detention until February 7, 2019, although he spent part of his internment at the La Fe Hospital in Valencia, where he was treated as a result of the leukemia that he has suffered since 2015.

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The Cotino business group and friends turned into accomplices

The bribes charged by the former president of the Generalitat Valenciana and former Minister of Labor, Eduardo Zaplana, have their origin, presumably, in the award of two large concessions from the regional administration: that of the wind farms and that of the ITV stations. For this reason, in the so-called Erial case, not only is the PP leader charged, but also businessmen who were part of the corrupt plot, as well as close collaborators of the former minister.

These are the ones involved:

Vicente and Jose Cotino. Both, nephews of the former Director General of the Police, Juan Cotino, investigated until his death. They were awarded wind farms and ITVs, businesses that reported them, according to the judge, 86 million euros.

Juan Francisco Garcia. Former chief of staff and friend of Eduardo Zaplana, who “collaborated directly with these events,” says the judge, referring to the award of three wind farm areas.

Joaquin Miguel Barcelo. “Zaplana used his friends and acquaintances to whom he made participants of the profits obtained in minimal amounts in order to obtain their collaboration and in comparison with those obtained by him, being a clear example of this Joaquín Miguel Barceló whom he made appear with his name in companies created of which he would be the administrator, both in Spain and abroad, in current accounts, thus leaving Eduardo Zaplana on the sidelines, formally, and free of responsibilities while receiving, yes, significant economic benefits, ”says the judge.

Felisa Lopez. Wife of Joaquín Miguel Barceló who, according to the investigation, was informed and knew how the plot worked.

Francis Gray. Tax adviser to Eduardo Zaplana and alleged figurehead.

Fernando Belhot. Uruguayan lawyer and presumed designer of the strategy for the return of bribes to Spain once collected in foreign accounts. Belhot decided to collaborate with justice.

Mitsouko Henriquez. Eduardo Zaplana’s personal secretary. She worked with him in the Valencian Generalitat and, later, in Telefónica. She “she was aware of the criminal activities of the same (Eduardo Zaplana) and she received amounts in cash of criminal origin, which she later gave to him.

Elvira and Saturnino Suanzes. The first was a PP deputy. Along with her brother, she participated in the “concealment and transformation of money of criminal origin that the Zaplana organization possessed both in Luxembourg and in Andorra.”

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