THE head of the PSOE in Torremolinos is the latest politician to be dragged into the billion euro training course fraud scandal.
Councillor José Ortiz was grille over his connection to the fraud by Torremolinos’s mayor, Pedro Fernández Montes, in a council meeting.
The debacle led councillors from the Izquierda Unida to march out of the meeting, labeling it a ‘circus’.
The corruption outrage – which involved hundreds of professional training courses – saw Andalucian officials take more than €3 billion of EU education funding.
The Junta has only now published a list of ‘companies’ the money went to, after months of media and public pressure. An incredible 70% are believed to have simply been ‘fronts’, while others padded out attendance lists with non-existent students.
At the Torremolinos council meeting, PP members demanded answers after it was revealed that Ortiz has a 21% stake in Centro Liber de Formación, a company that figures on the list of those exempt from documenting the use of EU job-training grants.
The opening motion – read out by Ramón del Cid, the PP’s municipal spokesperson – referred to subsidies cited in El Mundo which included €23,751 in December 2002, €44,697 in January 2008, and €38,466 in September 2009.
“Regardless of what may result from police investigations, José Ortiz, before the people of Torremolinos, has a moral obligation to defend his innocence,” the motion went on.
It stipulated that Ortiz simply had to prove the money had indeed been used for training, detail the course, teacher, and student names. He was also asked to clarify whether Yber Formación SC – Centro Liber de Formación’s previous name – had received further funding.
Ortiz defended the ‘absolute normality and legality’ of his actions while accusing the mayor of trying to ‘manipulate reality’ for political ends.
The meeting was reportedly full of tension, interruptions and emphatically repeated exclamations of ‘it’s a lie’ from Ortiz.
The mayor put the meeting to an end by declaring: “What was said today is worthless to us because everything remains unclear.”
The motion calling for Ortiz to reveal the use of his funds was in the end only backed by members of the PP Municipal Group who were left none the wiser following this farce.