Bribes, prostitution and drugs: a sordid corruption scandal in Spain embarrasses the Government of Pedro Sánchez

At the center of the controversy stands out Juan Bernardo Fuentes, known as “Tito Berni”

A sordid case of corruption with bribery, prostitution, drugs, and a socialist deputy as one of its protagonists, puts the party of the president of the Spanish government in trouble, Pedro Sanchezat the beginning of an electoral year that appears turbulent for the left.

A retired Civil Guard general who hid more than 60,000 euros in a shoe boxan evening in a Madrid brothel, nights in a luxury hotel with viagra, cocaine and prostitutes chosen from a catalog…

Since the end of February, the Spanish press has not stopped revealing details -with suggestive photos and supporting videos- of this scandal now known as the “Mediator case”, that splashes several businessmen and some members of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), of Pedro Sánchez.

At the center of the controversy stands out Juan Bernardo Fuentesknown as “Tito Berni”a socialist deputy from the Canary Islands archipelago who was forced to resign by his party in February, shortly before he was arrested, along with his nephew and several businessmen.

According to a legal document consulted by the news agency AFPthis 60-year-old politician would have assisted companies that wanted to win public contracts, obtain European subsidies or avoid health inspections during the covid-19 crisis, in exchange for financial consideration.

Income of 5,000 euros

In order to benefit from this support, “the first step” was to carry out “a bank transfer of 5,000 euros” to a sports association that the deputy chaired through a Canarian businessman, Antonio Navarro – whose pseudonym, “El mediador” – has given its name to the case.

For an additional cost of about 3,000 to 3,500 euros morebusinessmen could enjoy private visits to the Congress of Deputies, as well as party nights in discos and in a four-star hotelspecifies the court document.

The scandal puts the party of the president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, in trouble (Photogenic / Claudia Alba - Europa Press)
The scandal puts the party of the president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, in trouble (Photogenic / Claudia Alba – Europa Press) (Carlos Mateo PHOTO /)

According to Antonio Navarro himself, who has given interviews in various Spanish media in recent days, they also organized a dinner in Madrid attended by 15 socialist deputies in the middle of a pandemic despite the sanitary restrictions in force.

These revelations aroused deep discomfort within the Socialist Party, which is very concerned about isolating this crisis three months before the municipal and regional elections scheduled for May 28 and only nine of the legislative ones scheduled for the end of 2023.

“It is disgusting behavior,” he said last weekend Felix BolanosMinister of the Presidency and right-hand man of Pedro Sánchez, who came to power in 2018 thanks to a motion of censure against the previous conservative government, then rocked by a huge corruption scandal.

“It seems incredible to me, beyond politics, it personally disgusts me,” said the Minister of Agriculture Luis Planasalso from the Socialist Party, a formation that has made the fight against prostitution one of its battlehorses and that presented a bill last year to sanction clients.


The PSOE defends itself by recalling that it immediately expelled Juan Bernardo Fuentes. The party applies “zero tolerance” towards corruption, assured the president of the socialist group of the Congress of Deputies, Patxi Lopez.

The reaction, however, has not been enough to calm the critics of the People’s Party (PP, right), which demanded – together with the extreme right formation, vox– That a parliamentary commission of inquiry be created to “disclose the political responsibilities” derived from the Mediator case.

“It is so uncouth, it is so seedy, it is so embarrassing, and it causes so much damage to politics and institutions that we cannot continue like this,” said the president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóoaccusing the PSOE that “they do not offer all the information they have.”

With this case, the government “has lost the credit and confidence of the Spanish people,” insisted the leader of the conservatives, who are demanding the calling, starting in May, of early legislative elections, in which the polls point to them as winners. .

(With information from AFP)

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