Spain’s internal politics these days are characterised by deep turmoil. Here’s an enumeration of the top ten corruption cases that have recently shaken public life in the country. At the risk of stating the obvious: When you have a top ten of corruption cases you have a problem.
The Monarchy is not spared of the implications of this. The sister of Spanish King Felipe VI, Princess Cristina de Bourbon (of the House of Bourbon; her name is Cristina de Borbón in Spanish) and her husband, Iñaki Urdangarín, the Duke of Palma de Mallorca both stood accused until recently of tax fraud, influence-peddling, the embezzlement of public money, and money laundering (through a family-owned non-profit linked up with a family-owned company). After a court decision today, the difference is that only tax fraud remains as a charge in Cristina’s case while in her husband’s case that and all the other accusations continue to stand.
In Cristina’s case even the tax fraud charges may be dropped eventually. As the Daily Mail writes:
“It is not guaranteed that she will face trial over the tax fraud claims, as Spanish law says the alleged victim – in this case Spain’s government – must support the charges.”
To other matters now, seemingly unconnected to this…
Given the backdrop of economic difficulties and what seems by now rampant, even systematic corruption in Spain, it was interesting to come across this article about Francísco Nicolás Gómez Iglesias, a business school student turned “conman” who, mingling with pretty much the VIPs of Spanish society, successfully “fooled” everyone into thinking he knows everyone…
Ponder the meaning of this. Our friends in the media do not always appreciate the meaning of words, and run into problems of interpretation as a result. It is our scholarly duty to indicate when we encounter an example of that.
So… if somebody communicates with everyone, then by definition that person cannot fool everyone into believing that he/she communicates with everyone. The guy did actually get to know a lot of people in high society. He may have started out as a nobody but he got beyond that stage quite successfully. Photo illustration: young Gómez (on the right) sitting at a table with José María Aznar, a former Prime Minister of Spain (on the left).
In spite of his young age (he is just 20!) Gómez seems to have become Mr. Fix It for some in the Spanish elite. Quoting from this article:
“Cruising around night-time Madrid complete with a bodyguard and a fleet of Audi A-8 cars, he promised businessmen favours, arranging paperwork issues for club owners and the like through his contacts. He also claimed to have access to Spain’s CNI secret service and traded alleged information from this source. He charged up to 50,000 for each deal and moved into a mansion in Madrid’s exclusive El Viso district.”
That’s no longer a colourful and hilarious little story, right? It’s a colourful and at the same time quite significant, and consequently big story…
And here comes a part where apparently it even has a connection to the case of Cristina de Bourbon:
“Claiming to be representing Spain’s deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Gómez met with Miguel Bernad, who is part of the prosecution against Princess Cristina, and asked him to withdraw his accusations. He even promised Bernad’s companion at the lunch, a Catalan businessman, a nine-million-euro loan from BNP Paribas bank “on fabulous terms”.”
Wowoweewow. Were nine million euros really offered to a businessman with reference to Princess Cristina’s case, in the presence of someone from the prosecution’s side working on her case?
Well, if that’s any indication, that is what the words written there mean, actually.