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‘I didn’t know who Correa was, I never spoke to him’

The former president of the Madrid region was proud of her political work and distanced herself from the activities of López Viejo, judged in Gürtel

With a pressured voice, Esperanza Aguirre has declared to the tribunal which is hearing the first part of the Gürtel case (1999-2005) that she did not know Francisco Correa, and denied known about his companies which were contracted by the Madrid Regional Government, where the corrupt network obtained grand profits thanks to the influence of Alberto López Viejo, judged for these facts in the National Court

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Esperanza Aguirre – Archive photo

‘I didn’t know Francisco Correa, I never spoke to him. I knew nothing about his companies, it was not my remit to issue contracts’ she assured before the anti-corruption prosecutor Concepción Nicolás, charged to question Aguirre as a witness in the oral case.

The current spokesperson for the PP municipal group in Madrid has distanced herself from the activities of López Viejo, then sports councillor after being councillor of Cleaning and the Environment in the Madrid City Hall. ‘He was not a person in my confidence, but he was the person who organised the events’, she said.
‘Why did you name him vice-councillor?’ reiterated the prosecutor, ‘I don’t remember’, responded Aguirre.

The witness detailed that she later understood the actions of López Viejo, for whom the Prosecution wants 46 years in prison. ‘If he was paid by other parties by determined companies which afterwards he understood belonged to Correa, I would say that no’ she recognised. And over the gifts and presents which arrived in her office she emphasised ‘I have been in this business for many years and when gifts arrive they are returned, and if they are things such as meals or chocolate the personnel in my Cabinet had use of them’

When the questioning got more incisive over López Viejo, accused of breaking up contractual amounts on contracts conceded to Special Events, among others in the Correa Group, Aguirre boasted of her political achievements over nine years as president of the Madrid Community.

‘I had a very ambitious program, 20 billion € to spend. Each kilometre of the Metro cost 100million € and we built 100 kilometres. We licensed 12 public hospitals, some with private management. We opened a new college every week, we started the concept of bilingual teaching…’ then the president of the tribunal Ángel Hurtado, cut her off and snapped ‘This is not a declaration about your own political achievements – we don’t go down that road’ he remembered. Her questioning took 45 minutes.