Two officials, two corruption cases, two different outcomes

camps seron

Francisco Camps (left) and Juan Martín Serón

Recently the provincial court found Juan Martín Serón, mayor of Alhaurín el Grande, and his town planning councillor Gregorio Guerra, guilty of a single bribery charge in the ‘Troya’ corruption case

The two men were banned from public office, yet only for one year, and fined 200,000€ each.

The men were found guilty of one count of soliciting a bribe of 122,000 euros from a developer for a residency licence by “taking advantage of” ambiguities in planning regulations.

The two were found not guilty of 12 other charges of bribery.

Meanwhile, in Valencia last week, Francisco Camps, the former PP president of Valencia was found not guilty of receiving  hand-made suits to the value of 30,000 euros as part of the Gürtel bribery racket.

After three days of deliberation the nine-member panel found both him and Ricardo Costa, the former Partido Popular secretary general in Valencia, not guilty of corruption.

The two were accused of receiving gifts from the Gürtel network in return for public contracts worth millions of euros.

Francisco Correa, alleged ringleader of the Gürtel racket and currently in jail, gave evidence against Camps and Costa.

The men were cleared by five votes to four, enough to quash a conviction under Spanish law. A jury spokesman said the conclusion was that neither Camps nor Costa had received gifts in an official capacity and there was no proof that the suits were paid for by members of the Gürtel ring.

So two similar cases, both involving bribery, and two completely different outcomes. It’s nice to see all the corrupt officials getting their comeuppance, cleaning the industry if you like, but it would be nicer if the punishment fitted the crime.

In the first case, how can a convicted criminal, known for bribery ever be able to hold public office again? He should never be allowed anywhere near any official buildings, and should have received a custodial sentence.

In the second case, I’d like to know how a man on a state salary was able to pay 30,000 euros for suits. How much did he earn? I’d suspect he is rubbing his hands today and counting himself lucky to have escaped justice.

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