Bloomberg News

Investigation of Spanish Minister Blanco Goes to Supreme Court

November 07, 2011

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- A Spanish judge probing possible fraud with public money has asked the Supreme Court to consider part of the case that relates to Development Minister Jose Blanco, who is also the government’s chief spokesman.

Investigating judge Estela San Jose asked the higher court to consider aspects that may be linked to the cabinet minister because it has jurisdiction for him, according to an official in the Supreme Court’s communications office who asked not to be identified, in line with department policy.

The Supreme Court, based in Madrid, must decide whether it accepts the probe of Blanco, 49. The decision by the lower court judge came hours before the start of Spain’s official two-week campaign season leading up to the Nov. 20 general election.

Blanco has previously denied wrongdoing in statements and in press briefings. A spokesman for the minister today said the accusations are false and that Blanco welcomes Supreme Court’s review because until now he couldn’t directly defend himself.

El Mundo newspaper and newswire Cadena Ser have reported that the case revolves around allegations of influence peddling, derived from testimony from a businessman who said he paid “commissions” to Blanco through a relative of the minister.

The news website El Confidencial said the commissions totaled 400,000 euros ($551,000), citing the businessman.

--Editors: Reed Landberg, Randall Hackley

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd White in Madrid at twhite2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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