THE FORMER regional premier of the Andalusia region, Jose Antonio Griñan, will escape jail for now after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The politician was given a six-year prison sentence for his role in the so-called ERE case, a fraudulent scheme that saw funds destined for the unemployed and struggling companies syphoned off to individuals and businesses with links to his party, the Socialists.
The Seville High Court has taken the decision to suspend Griñan’s sentence for five years given his medical condition. The move comes after a forensic doctor was tasked with deciding whether or not the convict was in a fit state to serve his punishment.
The doctor found that Griñan was suffering from a ‘very serious illness’ and that his situation would make a ‘prison regime’ very difficult, according to a report from news agency Europa Press.
Griñan was found guilty of the misuse of public funds and misconduct in November 2019 for his role in the ERE case, a fraudulent scheme worth €680 million that ran over a decade. Also sentenced in the case was another former regional premier, Manuel Chaves.
Twelve of the 15 former Socialist Party politicians sentenced in the case – including Griñan and Chaves – are appealing their sentences with the Supreme Court.
A total of 21 Socialist officials went on trial in the ERE case, an acronym that refers to Spain’s workforce dismissal plan. Nineteen of them were found guilty of misusing public funds or misconduct, or both. The remaining two were acquitted.
A court in Seville ruled that from 2001 to 2010, a fund designed to help the unemployed and struggling businesses was given a total of €855 million from the regional government, of which €680 million was doled out to figures with connections to the Socialist Party via an ‘opaque’ system that lacked any ‘control mechanisms’.
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