Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon accused of dropping tax fraud investigation.
Photo Graham Keeley
“Innocent! Innocent!” demonstrators shouted as Baltasar Garzón arrived for a four-hour grilling at the Supreme Court in Madrid. He is accused of dropping a tax fraud investigation into Europe’s biggest bank in return for a bribe. Judge Garzón, 54, who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998, already stands accused of overstepping his authority by starting an investigation into the tens of thousands murdered during the Spanish Civil War. Next month he is expected to go before the Supreme Court to answer those charges.
Yesterday’s court date, his supporters say, represents a second line of attack by his enemies. He could be suspended from the Bench for the rest of his career if he is found guilty.
The allegations, brought by two lawyers, relate to human rights law courses he ran at New York University. The lawyers say $302,000 (£195,000) paid in sponsorship by Banco Santander amounted to a bribe. They note that five months after he returned to Spain, he dropped tax fraud charges against bank executives. The university stated that the money had been for expenses. “In no way did these payments take the form of payments . . . to the judge or his family,” it told the court. READ MORE HERE.