PSC stops City Council of Sabadell calling for ex mayor Bustos to enter prison

Socialists prevail and council avoids positioning itself

Jordi Ribalaygue
3 min
Bustos returns to trial to make withdraw fines to family members

BarcelonaMore than eight years after being indicted in the corruption plot of the Mercurio case, the former mayor of Sabadell Manuel Bustos will know in the coming weeks if he enters prison to serve a three-year sentence. The former socialist leader has two convictions for influence peddling, the last one confirmed by the Supreme Court a month ago which found him guilty of ordering police to lift three €200 driving fines against his wife and children. The Court has now asked the accusations whether they want the sentence to be served. The PSC, again at the head of the mayor's office, has prevented the consistory from taking a position in favor or against the imprisonment of the former mayor.

The division that Bustos continues to arouse has been evidenced this morning in an extraordinary meeting of spokesmen where the City Council had to make a decision before the injunction. All the opposition (ERC, Crida per Sabadell, Junts and Cs) have forced the meeting, where two opposing positions have been reflected. On the one hand, ERC, Crida and Junts have defended the council request thethe former mayor and the former head of the Municipal Police, Josep Miquel Duran - sentenced to fifteen months in prison - serve the full sentence. On the other hand, PSC, Podemos - with only one councillor in Sabadell, a government partner of the PSC - and Cs have argued that it was not up to the City Council to decide on a decision that they understand that corresponds to the courts.

During the session, ERC and Crida have asked for a vote to adopt an agreement. Cs had anticipated that they would abstain, which would mean the result would be favourable to those who wish Bustos and Duran serve sentences. The Socialists have responded that the agenda did not include a vote. In addition, they have invoked a motion of 2014 in which it was approved that the steps taken by the City Council prosecution would have to be consensual.

No vote for an agreement

The PSC has made its criterion prevail and has managed not to have to vote on the imprisonment of the former mayor, investigated in at least three open derivatives of the case. The City Council will transfer the position of each of the six political groups of Sabadell to the Court. In the trial, the consistory claimed that four years in prison were imposed on Bustos, as did the Prosecutor's Office and the popular accusation exercised by the Sabadell Lliure de Corrupció platform. The hearing was held in 2018, when the city was governed by a four-way left-wing coalition that isolated the PSC in opposition, which regained the mayor's office by the hand of Marta Farrés a year later.

In practice, the private prosecution of the City Council of Sabadell will not move before the eventual imprisonment of Bustos. There is a possibility the sentence is not served because it is in fact two separate one-and-a-half year sentences, and in Spain the limit under which sentences may be suspended is two years. ERC spokesman, Gabriel Fernàndez, has criticised against the mayor, whom he has blamed for trying to "neutralise the private prosecution". "The PSC has lost the opportunity to turn the page on a period of collusion with corruption," said Crida spokeswoman Nani Valero.

"Some parties live in the past. We don't feel responsible for what happened in another period," replied PSC deputy mayor Pol Gibert. He argued that the private prosecution has been compensated with the sanctions that the former mayor and the former chief of police have to pay and, at the same time, has interpreted that the City Council has "lacked the elements to assess whether they have to go to prison". "They have to compensate for all the funds that have been embezzled and that is why we defend the private prosecution, but the rest are judicial decisions that parties do not have to take," added the spokesman for Cs, Adrian Hernandez. The popular accusation of Sabadell Lliure de Corrupció - where parties of the previous government of Sabadell participate - will request that the penalties are executed as a measure of exemplarity against corruption, while the Prosecutor's Office has not yet positioned itself.