Monday, August 29, 2016

"Sick Note" And The Whorehouse

If you're a politician who has more or less got everything, what else might you wish for? A fine yacht with which you can serenely sail around the shores of a summertime Mallorca? Possibly, but it's unlikely that your ego (and indeed money) will stretch to the obscene ostentation to be found floating on the calm waters of Palma bay. Better to not even try to compete. How about instead having your own police force? While among the fantasy flotilla will be those capable of boasting that they have their own armies, a personal brigade of cops would still do nicely in pandering to your need for self-actualisation.

José María Rodríguez denies having conspired to create a police force within a police force, one to be allied to the Partido Popular with the aim of benefiting certain business people and friends of the party to the disadvantage of rival business people and political enemies. Never, he insists, did he organise a policing system to "monitor" anyone, including judges and prosecutors. One of these prosecutors, Miguel Ángel Subiran asked him outright if he had. "Never ever."

José María has done a great deal of denying in his time. The legal status of "imputado" is a peculiar one that stops short of actually being charged. Suspected but no more. Many a politician has found him or herself "imputado", often to then have this "archived" by a court that has not found evidence to proceed to the next stage of formally charging and trial. Generally, this happens only the once. With José María, he's been making a bit of a habit of it. Had he, for instance, once phoned the then mayor of Andratx and given a tip-off that the cops were coming (he was Balearic interior minister at the time)? No, he had not, the judge was told. There were records of phone calls in the days before the cops arrived. Could have been about anything. The weather, for example.

José María also denies ever having been to an "alternative club" (the nice way of saying a whorehouse). "It disgusts me," he says. Stories that have emerged of the investigation into police corruption which include references to "old" men at sex parties arranged by friendly business people disgust everyone else.

The judge has issued a restraining order. The reason? To prevent José María getting at witnesses or others. He cannot, for instance, go within 300 metres of local police facilities. What happens if he does? Is there a José María warning system that sounds an alarm if he is 299 metres away?

Restraining orders were the order of the week. Cops were being restrained as well. Two senior ones in Palma and that good old boy in Magalluf, the ex-chief of police from Calvia, José Antonio Navarro, of whom a great deal could be said but which is perhaps best left for the time being.

Because José Antonio was on the point of starting work again, the judge decided it was time to slap the restraining order on him. He can't go near Calvia police or the town hall. On the point of starting work again? Where had he been? On sick leave. And seemingly so ever since he was released having spent 40 days banged up when he was arrested a couple of years ago. How does that all work? If there's a compliant doctor it can work easily enough, it would appear. The judge in the police corruption investigation wants to take action the doctor who signed off several Palma cops - all under suspicion - without even having seen them: he was going on medical reports from the prison.

Had there not been a restraining order or the subsequent suspension from duty, what might "Sick Note" José Antonio have been doing on his return after the prolonged absence? A spot of community policing perhaps? Likewise, what were the two former chiefs of police in Palma, both also faced with restraining orders and now suspended, doing? Innocent until and all that, but they don't appear to have been on sick leave, unlike the one before both of them who was.

This sordid affair, a corruption investigation more damaging than any of those into mere pilfering of public funds, throws up all manner of weirdness. It was revealed last week that a year ago there had been a phone call to the 112 emergency line from the San Fernando (Sant Ferran) police HQ which was complaining about the noise from an event that was taking place some two kilometres away at a club on the Paseo Marítimo.

This was for the Ella lesbian festival. In attendance, among others, were the mayor of Palma, José Hila, and tourism minister Biel Barceló. The call, and later ones from a mobile, were suspected to have come from an inspector named Capó, one of the police officers in Palma who is "imputado" in the corruption investigation. He denied in court having made the call (calls).

Returning to José María, it might be recalled that he once took action against Pilar Costa, now the spokesperson for the Balearic government, for having called him a "capo", which has a different meaning to "capó" when there is an accent. The latter means bonnet or hood of a car. Hood, however, might also be applicable to "capo" without an accent - a mafia boss. Judge Penalva, the investigating judge, who like the prosecutor Subiran has been given permission to carry a gun, described José María last month as the "architect in the shadows" of a corrupt organisation, an organisation the judge has also referred to as a criminal organisation.

Denial is everything.

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