A Valencian civil servant who got €50,000 per year for a job that he did not do, has lost a legal case against a newspaper that exposed his activities.
The respected El Mundo newspaper got the Supreme Court to overturn a lower Valencia court ruling that Carles Recio had been defamed in an article.
Mr. Recio ”worked” as archives director for the Valencia Provincial Council, but just popped into his sparsely furnished office between October 2007 and January 2017 to “sign in and out”.
The story was broken in January 2017 by El Mundo, who also revealed his involvement in managing a gay male brothel, as well as an incident when he pretended to be a Partido Popular(PP) regional senator to get into a reception.
He eventually lost his publicly-funded archive job when colleagues voiced their suspicions after his long period of inactivity.
Recio claimed that he worked away from his office, but was unable to provide any evidence to back it up..
He lost a civil case in July 2018 which barred him from holding public office for nine years, but no criminal charges were ever laid against him.
Recio took El Mundo to court in Valencia over an article that specifically suggested that brothel clients were cajoled into keeping quiet about Recio´s work schedule in case he went public over their sexual activities.
El Mundo stated: “Many officials knew about Recio´s work schedule but were scared to report him in case of reprisals.”
The paper reported that Recio´s archive job was specially created for him by Valencia Provincial Council president, the PP´s Fernando Giner, in 2007, and it was maintained by his successor, Alfonso Rus.
Lower courts in Valencia found that Recio´s honour and reputation had been damaged by the article, and ordered financial compensation.
El Mundo fought back with an appeal to the Supreme Court, which ruled that no violation against Recio had taken place.
Judges said that the paper had every right to have published the critical article on the grounds of freedom of expression and information, and that everything was done “in the public interest”, especially as it was proven that Mr. Recio did not work as an archivist.