There is a popular saying in Spanish that says: “those who works with honey can’t help sucking their fingers”. Apparently there is a lot of honey in multimillion public construction contracts and large construction companies have been involved in the payments of commissions to political parties to obtain large public contracts.
Spanish construction companies have been involved in recent years in multiple cases of corruption linked to public administrations and political parties. Bribes, fights, bites, illegal commissions, money laundering, are terms that have been linked to the sector continuously, forcing many of the first leaders of major infrastructure groups in Spain to have to go through courts to declare, as witnesses, or as investigated persons.
The latest scandal the so-called Lezo case, busted right onto the face of the large OHL construction company. Among the most striking processes are the following:
The cases of PP (Partido Popular)
If there is a party hit by cases of corruption recently is the PP. La Gurtel, the roles of Bárcenas, Lezo, Púnica and Son Espases are the main banners. This right-wing political party have been involved, in one way or another, several construction companies and their leaders. The common denominator is OHL and its founder, Juan Miguel Villar Mir, who has been accused in several of these processes for allegedly making donations and paying commissions, there are still ongoing investigations on other cases. FCC, Sacyr and ACS have also appeared in the investigations of the Punic case. The president of the last one, Florentino Pérez the Real Madrid President had to declare also for Son Espases..
The Palau in Barcelona
One of the most talked about cases in recent years was Ferrovial as the protagonist for paying more than 10 million Euros in commissions in exchange for public works in Catalonia. The courts acquitted the two directors of the group chaired by Rafael del Pino, although the ruling clarified that it was due to the prescription of the cases and not because they were innocent.
Looting of the Square
This is the only major case in which a company, Acciona, admitted the crime. The company presided by José Manuel Entrecanales, within a UTE (temporary union of companies), admitted the payment of 60 million euros for the pillage of the Aragonese public company Plaza the embezzlement was quantified in 147 million of Euros. The judicial process was postponed pending agreements.
It consists of a scandal of political corruption for the collection of illegal commissions in a percentage in the region of 3% of the budget for public works awarded by the Generalitat of Catalonia. Teyco, Copisa, Grupo Ortiz, the foundation of ACS, Comsa and FCC are the main companies that appear as donors in this percentage supposedly led by Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, son of the former Catalan president.
The works of Adif. (High speed trains)
The works of the railway network promoted by Adif has several cases with extra costs linked to corruption and the payment of commissions. The most outstanding is that of La Sagrera, in Catalonia. In this process there are at least eight construction companies involved: ACS, Acciona, Comsa, Rubau, Copisa, FCC and Ferrovial. Isolux also appears in another case opened by the works of the Trinidad link and the future station of La Sagrera. Another outstanding case is the fraud for the works of the high-speed line between Crevillente and Murcia and for which they have been prosecuted, for several crimes, Sacyr, Acciona, ACS, Grupo Sanjose, Villegas and Hormigones Martínez.
Chauffeurs and cocaine
The so-called ERE case in Andalucía is a massive probe into the misuse of some 150 million Euros of public funds by Andalusian Socialist government officials including former regional president José Antonio Griñán,, their business associates and even the major trade unions. Over 200 people have been formally accused.
Essentially, subsidies meant to help companies to pay employees’ redundancy packages or early retirement were fraudulently doled out, benefitting all concerned.
Among the allegations to come to light are that public officials blew a fortune on cocaine and girls sending to hapless and well rewarded chauffeur, turned whistleblower, to collect them.
An offshoot of a far-reaching investigation into corrupt dealings in the Balearic Islands, the Caso Noos trial wen underway with charges laid against Princess Cristina, the sister of King Felipe VI.
It centres on allegations that her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, used his royal connections to secure overpriced contracts for a supposed none profit organization, embezzling public funds to the tune of over €6m into his own family accounts.
It has already cost the Princess a palace in Barcelona, and her official role in the royal household.