Esperanza Aguirre assures that she supported the Madrid Justice Campus because they thought it would be at zero cost | Spain

Esperanza Aguirre, president of the Community of Madrid between 2003 and 2012, defended this Tuesday at the National Court the Justice Campus project promoted by her Government and which ended up being scrapped following the Community spent 355 million euros. “Everyone agreed, it was not an idea by Esperanza Aguirre as they say. It would never have occurred to me, I didn’t know that there were cities of justice in other cities,” said Aguirre, who has testified as a witness in the trial for the alleged irregularities detected in the contracts for the concession and construction, in the that the Prosecutor’s Office requests eight years in prison for Alfredo Prada, who was Aguirre’s vice president and advisor of Justice. The former president has maintained that she lent her support to the project because they believed that it would not generate expenses. “We thought: ‘it’s not going to cost us’; But of course, it cost us,” she admitted.

Prada has sat on the bench of the National Court since March 4, accused of leading “a criminal plan” to “irregularly” grant contracts to several companies in the Justice Campus project. The public ministry demands six years in prison for five other defendants, including Commissioner Andrés Gómez Gordo, former director of Security of the Madrid organization and later advisor to María Dolores de Cospedal during her time as president of Castilla-La Mancha. Gómez Gordo is also accused in the caso Kitchen (the parapolice operation allegedly concocted in the Ministry of the Interior to steal sensitive documentation from Luis Bárcenas, former popular treasurer). The other four defendants in the Campus of Justice are: Isabelino Baños, Mariano José Sanz and Alicio de las Heras, who held, respectively, the positions of technical general director of the Campus, technical deputy general director and financial director; and one of the advisors, Félix José García.

The statement of the former Madrid president had been requested by Prada’s defense, who asked her how the project and the creation of the public company Campus de la Justicia was conceived, in whose presidency the Minister of Justice was placed. Aguirre, who as a witness is obliged to tell the truth, has explained that she took on the idea of ​​building a Justice Campus because they explained to her that it might be done at zero cost. The project was going to be built on land ceded to the Community in Valdebebas, on the northern outskirts of the capital, and the idea was to pay for it by saving on the rent of several judicial buildings and the sale of others that the Community owned. taking advantage of “the real estate boom.” “Of the first one they gave us in public auction more than double what the appraisal that was done had given. And we thought, probably poorly thought out: ‘Wide is Castilla’, this is not going to cost us.’ But of course, it cost us,” the former regional president admitted to questions from the court.

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During his statement, Aguirre insisted that there was a general consensus regarding the convenience of grouping the judicial headquarters of Madrid into a Campus of Justice, and in that consensus he included the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the person who was attorney general. of the State, Cándido Conde-Pumpido. “Everyone from the Madrid and national justice system was there when laying the first stone,” he recalled. Regarding the alleged irregularities in the management that later became known, Aguirre has assured that everything was done with the approval of the auditor and the secretary of the regional Government, of the commission of deputy councilors and of audits that were being carried out in the public company created. to manage the project. “There was never any objection,” said the former Madrid president, who has defined Prada’s management as head of Justice as “very good” and has dissociated her from her dismissal, in 2008, as a director. “I fired him for political reasons.” [porque Prada apoyó a Mariano Rajoy en el congreso nacional del PP]but I was very happy with his management,” Aguirre explained.

The former president has assured that she had nothing to do with the decision to hire architect Norman Foster for the construction of the campus, a contract for which 14 million euros were paid despite the fact that no building was ever built. Neither she nor her Government, she has assured, recommended signing Foster. “But when they told us regarding it, we thought it was very good.” She does not remember approving the figures in his contract. “But I sure supported him being hired. The project was not going to cost the taxpayer,” the former regional president insisted.

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