The Court of First Instance and Instruction number 1 of Utrera has ordered to investigate the accounts of the businessman who acted as an intermediary in the purchase by the City Council of the cinemas of the Los Molinos shopping center, in August 2019. This was formalized for 685,000 euros between the Consistory and the businessman, who had bought them only two months before and with a subsequent acquisition commitment by the socialist government to the investment fund that had them, but paying 235,000 less for them.
In an order of October 27, the head of the court that investigates whether an alleged crime of administrative prevarication could be committed, also requires the Chamber of Accounts to report on “if it observes signs of accounting responsibility on the part of the members of the local corporation”, it is understood that those who voted in favor of that operation.
He is also going to take a statement as a witness – it has already been set for February 14, in court – from the current municipal comptroller who, although she did not work in the City Council at the time of the sale, if “she would have subsequently intervened in the VAT settlements.
These proceedings take place after Together for Utrera (JxU) -which warned of what it considers dark points in the operation- and Cs denounced in court and appealed the initially decreed file, convinced that there have been irregularities and possible crimes of influence peddling and embezzlement, in addition to prevarication.
Socialist councilor Jose Montoro intervened as a notary in both purchase and sale operations, in his professional office, with which he knew the amounts with which the two sales made a few months apart were closed. Despite everything, the socialist government has defended the legality of the entire process and thus paid much less than what the investment fund asked for the rooms, saving costs for the City Council. The cinemas reopened in April 2020, after a concession to a company by the Consistory.
In the new ruling, the head of the court attends to the requests made by the Prosecutor’s Office, in another letter that entered the court on October 5. Specifically, the court orders that the banking entities in which the businessman and his company have accounts be required to facilitate bank movements to the Economic Crimes Team of the Civil Guard from January 1, 2019 – the purchase by of the company Hermanos Tagua Serrano SL was made in June of that year, one day before the mayor announced at his inauguration after the elections that the City Council was going to have the cinemas – until today. Likewise, it requests that the aforementioned team be authorized access to the file of financial ownership, of public ownership, to also study the opening or cancellation of current accounts,
After learning about these new proceedings, the JxU spokesman and former mayor, Francisco Jimenez, stressed in a statement that one of the fundamental issues for this investigation is the fact that the City Council has used “a broker for the purchase of movie theaters , together with a procedure that at no time has been clear and that in a few days caused the enrichment of a businessman in more than 230,000 euros of the money of the Utrerans “.
For the leader of the opposition it is not admissible “that the mayor has not given an explanation, not even moderately convincing, of how the procedures have been, instead he has been hiding and manipulating all the information.” Jimenez points out that from his party they will continue to carry out the work of control and supervision that corresponds to them as opposition.
For its part, from the local socialist government they believe that this court procedure is just a kind of formality to file the case again, convinced that there are no irregularities.
The PSOE insists on the clarity of the “public part” of the operation and announces a lawsuit against the JxU spokesperson
In a statement, the PSOE of Utrera has stressed that his team is “100% calm with the process” of buying the cinemas, that “from the City Council”, the public part of the operation, he points out, “was always done with the technical, legal and economic endorsement of the municipal services”. He emphasizes that the prosecutor’s brief does not even mention the mayor and mayor Jose Montoro, who have never been investigated, for which he considers that “the political path of this judicial matter has ended.” He also announces the filing of a lawsuit for slander against the JxU spokesman for stating that there is concealment, when “he had access to the entire file when he requested it.” He also believes that JxU’s insistence on resorting to the archive of the cause responds to his ” frustration for not achieving political objectives”. “We are fully respectful of judicial times and we do not want to interfere in the work of Justice. Since the beginning of the process, the mayor of Utrera has always stayed out of the media noise and his role has always been limited to collaborating with the Justice”, he underlines.