Ally of Spain's new leader goes on trial for corruption

AFP , Monday 12 Dec 2011

A top Spanish politician goes on trial charged with corruption in a scandal linked to the Popular Party, which is set to form the country's new government

A close ally of Spain's incoming Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Francisco Camps, is accused of accepting bribes in the form of designer suits worth 14,000 euros ($19,000) while he was president of the Valencia region.

Onlookers booed Camps as he came to court to stand trial with three other defendants including Ricardo Costa, a fellow former local leader of the Popular Party which is about to form the next national government under Rajoy.

Camps is accused of accepting the bribes from businessmen in exchange for public contracts. He resigned in July after being charged but he and Costa deny taking bribes and say they paid for the suits.

The trial is tangled up in a wider web of alleged corruption and industrial espionage involving several local Popular Party members and Francisco Correa, a businessman with close links to the party.

Prosecutors have demanded Camps be fined 41,250 euros.

Camps has been a target of Spain's so-called "indignant" activists, who have organised mass protests and marches since 15 May against political corruption, the economic crisis and soaring unemployment.

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