The court investigating the macro-cause of the ERE has archived the piece of aid of 200,000 euros granted by the Government of Andalusia to the company Movimientos de Tierras El Jefe SL for having exceeded the stipulated investigation period. It is the second investigation closed in less than a week for having failed to comply with the deadlines stipulated by law. The head of the Court of Instruction 6 of Seville, Jose Ignacio Vilaplana, has closed the investigations after the Court of Seville upheld the appeal of the defense of one of those investigated.
The big question is how many files will cascade in this macrocause, with about 140 pieces separated by different aids, a question without an answer at the moment. In 2015, a reform of article 324 of the Criminal Procedure Law limited new investigation deadlines, times that have not always been respected, especially in overworked courts such as the ERE court, with hundreds of open and countless cases. people investigated. In 2021, the Supreme Court established its doctrine on how the expiration of the instruction deadlines should be respected, which were “mandatory,” and which greatly affect macro-causes such as fraudulent ERE or Invercaria.
Each investigation had to be renewed within just six months, a legal limit often breached. At the moment, the Superior Court of Justice (TSJA) lacks a number of appeals presented based on article 324 in the case of the ERE and the scope that this crack in the investigation could have, taken advantage of by the defenses. Last week the judge already had to archive another investigation due to expiration of the deadline, in this case that of the Auxiliary Industry of the Bay of Cádiz, granted for 26 million and with four people investigated.
In the case of the company Movimientos de Tierras El Jefe SL, the investigation had already been completed and the magistrate had issued an order to open an oral trial after receiving the accusation documents from the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, the Board and the PP, but it was finally diluted and archive. The investigation accused the former general director of Labor and Social Security of the Board Daniel Alberto Rivera and the businessman who received the public subsidy of embezzlement, document falsification and prevarication.
The Seventh Section of the Sevillian Court clarified on July 11 that the investigation should have concluded on October 6, 2017, which is why the order issued a week later was annulled to declare the case complex – with 18 months of investigation – and subsequent resolutions to advance processing, based on article 324 of the Criminal Procedure Law.
“Nothing done afterwards is valid (…) The extensions of the investigation deadlines agreed upon under article 324 are unviable in the event that the initial extension of the investigation deadline had been agreed upon out of time; coming to declare the invalidity of the actions,” explains De la Plana. “This extension should have occurred before six months have passed since the initiation of the case, therefore, before October 6, 2017,” the judge adds in his order.
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The magistrate warns that in the investigation he has seen “solvent and rational indications of criminality” and that is why he opened an oral trial against those investigated, but then admits that he must follow the criteria set by the Court of Seville, a higher body than the investigating court. The judge leaves the door open to civil and administrative actions that the Board could take to claim compensation for the alleged damage to the public coffers committed by the granting of the aid of 200,000 euros. The aid for the company was for payment to suppliers, social security and payroll of its workers.
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