Filesa

Filesa
   This was a corruption case in which the socialist PSOE was accused of illegally financing itself in the late 1980s by selling phantom consulting services to big business. Named after a Barce-lonabased group of consultancy companies, Filesa allegedly financed the PSOE government's 1989 general election campaign. In particular, it was suspected that the Filesa group received a sum of 1,000m pesetas (approximately $8.4m) from leading domestic banks, principally the BBV and the Banco Central, and several companies including Catalana de Gas, and the Pryca supermarket chain, in return for fictitious consultancy reports. Filesa was controlled by Carlos Navarro, a member of parliament and former treasurer of the PSOE parliamentary party and by Senator José María Sala, administrative secretary of the Catalan Socialist Party and a member of the party's national executive. Filesa then supposedly made direct payments to service companies supplying the PSOE campaign headquarters, but in order to disguise the payments it took receipts, not from party suppliers, but from a group of companies, called 2020, controlled by Aida Alvarez, a former national co-ordinator of the PSOE's finances. Moreover, the 2020 group of companies itself was linked in press reports to large consultancy payments made by Germany's Siemens group in exchange for obtaining a contract in 1989 to provide the electrification for the high-speed train link between Madrid and Seville.
   The PSOE reacted to the scandal by criticizing the judge in charge of the case, Marino Barbero, arguing that the investigation was politically motivated and part of a wider conspiracy to undermine the PSOE administration. The government narrowly avoided a special parliamentary investigation into the Filesa affair and established instead a parliamentary commission charged with investigating the financing of all political parties since 1979, when the first local elections were held under the new democratic regime. In this way, the socialists limited the damage to themselves by focusing on the problem in general rather than concentrating on any particular cases.
   The fact that the right-wing PP found itself embroiled in a similar scandal to the Filesa affair, which forced it to sack its national treasurer for allegedly organizing illicit funding in 1990, does suggest that the question of irregular party financing is one that affects all parties in Spain. In particular, it highlights the difficulties parties face in meeting the ever-growing financial costs arising from the continous round of municipal, regional and general elections with their evergreater stress on advertising and the mass media, as well as the costs of financing large party bureaucracies staffed by paid officials.
   See also: corruption; political parties; politics
   Further reading
   - Heywood, P. (ed.) (1995) Distorting Democracy: Political Corruption in Spain, Italy and Malta, CMS Occasional Paper, No. 10; University of Bristol: Centre for Mediterranean Studies.
   - Hooper, J. (1995) The New Spaniards, Harmondsworth: Penguin (corruption is analysed in several chapters, particularly chapters 5 and 31).
   - Martín de Pozuelo, E. et al. (1994) Guía de la Corrupción, Barcelona: Plaza & Janes (a journal istic guide to the various corruption cases in Spain).
   GEORGINA BLAKELEY

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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