It is 8:40 am on October 23rd. The retired commissioner José Manuel Villarejo is still in provisional prison – he would leave on March 3, 2021 – when a group of six agents from the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police and a judicial official stand in front of his house in Boadilla del Monte ( Madrid) and watch as his wife, Gemma Alcalá, arrives aboard a maroon Range Rover. There is no time to lose. Immediately they stop her, a search begins that will last until 4:00 p.m. and will end with a discovery that will revolutionize the entire investigation: 13 black, brown or orange “handwritten booklets”, which were kept inside a bedroom closet and are joined to three others found in 2017, according to the police reports to which EL PAÍS had access.
These notebooks are not only full of annotations and cover the alleged contacts that Villarejo maintained from June 26, 2007 to May 5, 2016, as the judicial official left in writing, but they also include the period during which it was Operation Kitchen is underway, the parapolitical plot hatched in the Ministry of the Interior in 2013 to spy on former treasurer Luis Bárcenas with the alleged objective of snatching sensitive material for high-ranking PP officials after the outbreak of the scandal of the Bárcenas papers. Some notes that, as Judge Manuel García-Castellón highlighted in an order issued last Tuesday, have been key to impute María Dolores de Cospedal, former secretary general of the PP between 2008 and 2018, and her husband, the businessman Ignacio López del Iron.
The magistrate makes it very clear in his resolution: a tour of those 13 new agendas allows drawing a “temporary schedule” of the “most relevant” incidents that occurred during Operation Kitchen and of which we have knowledge through other evidence collected. in instruction. In addition, they complete the timeline collected in the other three notebooks that intervened with the commissioner when he was arrested in 2017, where his contacts were reflected from May 9, 2016 until weeks before his arrest. And all together they show that the relationship between Villarejo and the Cospedal-López del Hierro marriage was common for almost a decade. At least it begins in 2009, when the police officer meets with the couple at the PP headquarters on Genova street, according to a recording published by the press. And it lasted, according to Villarejo’s annotations and audios reflected in the summary, at least until mid-2017, just a few months before the arrest of the commissioner in November of that year.
The 13 new notebooks include alleged contacts until now unknown between Villarejo and the couple, as well as with their environment. The judge also points out that the “chain of annotations” “allows inferring the participation” of the former politician and her husband in Kitchen, a thesis that the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has maintained for months. Although the magistrate does not detail in his order all the annotations found, he does outline some of the most compromising notes for the former secretary general.
On April 23, 2012, when the PP was besieged by Gürtel’s investigation and protected Bárcenas – he had not yet pulled the blanket, which he would do in July 2013 – Villarejo notes an alleged talk with López del Hierro : “Notice helps Barc.”. The next day, he supposedly spoke to the businessman again: “Brief talk. MD (María Dolores de Cospedal) thanked Barc for notice ”. It would not be the first time that the agent provided them with information. The Prosecutor’s Office maintains that the commissioner already telephoned the husband in 2009 to “warn” him about two judicial investigations that were then under secret and that affected the party: Operation Brugal and the Valencian branch of Gürtel.
Villarejo also reflects on October 26, 2012 a supposed meeting with Cospedal where “López del Hierro was”. Days later, the commissioner would write down the e-mail of the popular leader and the telephone number of his secretary. The mobile number of the number two of the PP was found in another of the agendas intervened with the police, which also included another supposed appointment agreed in summer 2017 with MD, the acronym with which he referred to it: “MD: see us at 3pm. Vips. Velazquez. Ready. It was very correct and we will see each other live ”.