The businessman Pedro Romero, hairdresser of the former president of the Generalitat Valenciana and former minister Eduardo Zaplana, has been “indignant” because they have placed him in the plot of the Erial case and has denied having had business with the former president, as Europa Press has learned.
Romero has come this Wednesday to testify before the Court of Instruction number 8 of Valencia, in charge of investigating alleged irregularities with the ITV and the Wind Plan at the time when the Generalitat Valenciana was chaired by Eduardo Zaplana.
The researchers consider that Romero could have collaborated with the “criminal purposes” of Zaplana. Specifically, the UCO believes that the expresident would have used the company with which the hairdresser was linked in order to make it possible to use funds and assets for their benefit and as a means to hide the identity of the true owner of the same.
However, the businessman, during his appearance in court, has denied these points. He has indicated that he did not know the reasons why he had been involved in this procedure and has asserted that he did not participate in any criminal plot.
Romero has pointed out that he has never signed anything irregular and has assured that he feels used. In addition, he has denied business with Zaplana, with whom he has admitted a professional relationship, although not a personal one. In this regard, he has been asked why he then invited him to his daughter’s wedding, and the investigated has pointed out that because the then President of the Government, José María Aznar, was also going, and so that he was not alone.
Along with Romero, other investigated have also come to testify before the court, among them, the former Minister of Industry in the Government of Eduardo Zaplana, Fernando Castelló, and one of the alleged front men of the ‘former president’ Joaquín Barceló, who have accepted his right not to give a statement.
Castelló is being investigated for allegedly receiving a commission of just over 150,000 euros in exchange for awards. The UCO considers that the ex-minister had an “active role” in 2002 in an alleged plot led by Zaplana to obtain economic benefits from the concession of the Community Wind Plan to like-minded businessmen.
The Erial case, in which Eduardo Zaplana is accused along with others, was opened to investigate the alleged collection of 10.5 million euros in commissions derived from ITV concessions and wind farms in the Valencian Community, which could constitute crimes of bribery, money laundering, embezzlement and prevarication.
It is a procedure that came to light about three years ago, when in May 2018 Zaplana was arrested on the grounds that he had charged commissions for the award of the ITV service in the Community, whose privatization he approved in 1997, and by the Wind Energy Plan of the Valencian Community, in 2003. Although at that time he was no longer in the Consell, it is considered that he left everything spinning for the companies finally awarded.
And what could lead the Civil Guard agents to arrest who was a minister with José María Aznar were some papers found by a person on the side of a safe in a flat that he had rented and that had been the property of Zaplana. By chance, the person who found them had had a relationship with the former manager of Imelsa, Marcos Benavent, who called himself ‘Yonki of money’, and showed them to him.
An investigation was then initiated that culminated in several arrests and searches., in addition to finding Zaplana’s personal agendas, with multiple annotations and appointments. After that, the former head of the Consell spent about eight months in prison accused of bribery, money laundering, embezzlement and prevarication, until he was provisionally released.