- The former Minister of Labor was arrested on Tuesday for an alleged crime of money laundering estimated at ten million .
- Of pillar of the PP of Aznar to protagonist of the ‘punctures’ of Lezo.
Eduardo Zaplana, was arrested on Tuesday for the alleged crimes of money laundering, embezzlement and prevarication when he was president of the Valencian Community, something that happened between 1995 and 2002. This Wednesday several media report that the investigation on this matter, called Operation Erial, started from some documents delivered in court by Marcos Benavent, former manager of Imelsa, company of the Diputación de Valencia.
Benavent appeared on the scene in 2015 when he called himself “money junkie” . “I’ve taken everything, money and cash and commissions, almost everyone is on the move,” he told the media, not wanting to quote any politician. He did it upon his arrival at the courts to testify following a complaint lodged by the Imelsa managers for alleged unjustified expenses and other irregularities.
At that time, he considered turning 180 degrees , something that materialized not only with his collaboration with justice but also with a physical change: he went from his suit to a more hippy look, with very casual clothes, earrings, bracelets, long hair and a dense beard.
“I’m going to tell the truth, I’m going to cause a lot of damage, but people need to know the truth,” he warned and insisted: “Shovel is going to come out.”
It had been a few months since it had been made public that the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office was investigating irregularities in Imelsa’s hiring , following a complaint filed by EUPV, a case in which Benavent was indicted.
“Two million pelas”
Before launching those notices, the former manager of the public company had already taken to the court some recordings related to the collection of commissions that dotted, among others, the former president of the Diputación Alfonso Rus and the exconcejal of Culture of the City of Valencia María José Alcón . The first was heard counting ” One, two, 2,000, 3,000 … and 12,000 euros, two million pelas” , an extreme that Rus has always denied to ensure that this was not his voice.
In these years, Benavent has been collaborating with the judicial authorities in everything that has been claimed, going to both the Prosecutor’s Office and the court when it has been requested and delivering different documentation and hard disks related to the corrupt plot.
He has come to accuse the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, of “being aware ” of what was happening in Imelsa, as well as the former Valencian president Francisco Camps. “The party is accused of corruption, of destroying hard drives … Denying that the president knew what was happening … Come on, I do not do it so foolish, everyone who believes what he wants,” he said.
Without ever regretting having spoken, in one of his last appearances before the media Benavent said he was “knowledgeable” of the practices on the alleged irregular financing of the Valencian PP that his former Secretary General Ricardo Costa had recognized in court. Costa admitted financing with black money and blamed Camps.
A Syrian magnet
The documentation that gave rise to the Erial operation was given to the former Imelsa manager by a Syrian imam. He would have found it in a false ceiling when he was working on his house , in the La Pagoda building, a house that had previously belonged to Zaplana, sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to Europa Press.
It would be schemes made by the hand of the former minister and allegedly collect illegal money movements. The imam saw that these were very delicate documents and gave them to Benavent, with whom he had a good relationship, so that he could keep them and do what he thought fit with them.
The “money yonki” delivered them in court in 2015 , in the germ of the Imelsa case, which at that time affected the Diputación de Valencia presided by Rus and ended up involving the popular group in the Valencian Consistory with Taula and other pieces , such as those related to the construction of schools through the public company Ciegsa. The last episode so far has ended with one of the pillars of Jose Maria Aznar’s PP behind bars.