Gürtel corruption trial verdict brings huge sentences and more woe for PP

Francisco Correa, (right), seen in court during the trial.
Francisco Correa, (right), seen in court during the trial. / AFP
  • The ruling conservative party will have to pay back 245,000 euros in fraudulent campaign money as judges call into question PM's credibility

Of the many cases of political corruption in Spanish courts at the moment, the Caso Gürtel was probably the highest profile. After ten years of investigation and deliberation the damning verdict on the case, which has cast a long shadow over the government's Partido Popular (PP) party, was finally released on Thursday in a 1,700 page court document.

In the verdict, 29 of the 37 who had been on trial (a mixture of business people, PP politicians, intermediaries and spouses), were sentenced to a total of 351 years in jail and heavy fines. Significantly the court found it proven that the PP party had been illegally financed by corrupt funds and said that the prime minister's account when he appeared as a witness during the trial lacked credibility. The party will have to pay back 245,000 euros.

The case centred on Francisco Correa who through his companies charged PP administrations inflated fees for services, paying back large amounts in commission to politicians. Correa was given 51 years. The case itself has spurned other corruption cases that are still ongoing.