surinenglish

Prosecutors under fire over 'suspicious handling' of Lezo corruption case

José Manuel Maza (centre) faces questions from MPs.
José Manuel Maza (centre) faces questions from MPs. / EFE
  • Opposition MPs claim the public prosecution department is biased in its investigations and that the PP-led government has been interfering

Politicians have been increasing pressure this week on public prosecutors and ministers in the PP-led government over their behaviour in the ‘Lezo’ corruption case.

The huge ‘Lezo’ case came to light last month and involves the supposed diversion of public funds from Madrid’s publicly-owned water company by the former PP president of the Madrid region, Ignacio González, and other officials.

In a complex web of claims and criticism, opposition politicians are accusing public prosecutors and ministers of handling information on the corruption investigations to supposedly favour those accused in the Lezo case.

In addition, they say that the new head of the anti-corruption branch of the public prosecution department “isn’t up to the job” after controversial decisions on important cases his team are investigating.

On Wednesday, appearing before a committee of MPs, chief public prosecutor (fiscal general), José Manuel Maza, defended the neutrality of his department, saying he had complete faith in his anti-corruption chief, Manuel Moix.

Moix’s recent appointment has been heavily criticised. Secret recordings of the arrested former Madrid president appear to show that he had been trying to influence a decision in favour of Moix’s appointment to the anti-corruption role.

In the same session, Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, denied interference in investigations. Meanwhile, in the main parliament chamber, prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, was forced to face criticism of the fresh corruption allegations in the PP party.