By Chris King •
Updated: 02 Jun 2022 • 14:57
The trial of notorious ex-police chief, 70-year-old Jose Manuel Villarejo, is taking place in Spain’s top criminal court, the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid. Villarejos is pivotal in a web of scandal and corruption accusations that have shocked Spain,
The former cop, who was arrested four years ago, faces a maximum sentence of 109 years in prison if he is found guilty. He stands accused of making secret recordings with businesspeople, some of which were leaked online, after being discovered at his home during a search.
It is alleged that he tried to use these recordings to blackmail a number of people, or that he threatened to use them on behalf of other clients to destroy their reputations. Police raids on his home reportedly recovered more than 40 terabytes of recordings and other information.
Mr Villarejo’s wife is one of 27 other defendants in this case, along with police officials and heads of big companies.
While still employed in his role as a National Police chief, Mr Villarejo had set up Cenyt, a consulting company. Accusations against him claim that he abused his position to access sensitive police data, for which he allegedly received millions of euros for.
After spending three years in custody, he was ordered to be released by a court last March, at which point Villarejo declared that he would co-operate with the authorities and unmask everybody that was involved.
Expected to last until January 2022, the trial in Madrid is following three separate investigations. Members of Spain’s royal family could become implicated in this case, as well as some of the country’s biggest tycoons, and politicians. These include Iberdrola’s boss, Ignacio Galan, head of the country’s largest energy firm, and Francisco Gonzalez, boss of BBVA bank, who are both accused of using the services of Mr Villarejo.
Even Spain’s former King Juan Carlos I could be involved, after a taped conversation included his ex-mistress making allegations that he made money from a contract with Saudi Arabia for a high-speed train contract, as reported by bbc.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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