Spain: trial of former blackmailer policeman José Manuel Villarejo begins

According to the prosecution, former commissioner Jose Manuel Villarejo would have managed 46 companies, including detective agencies and law firms serving as a screen for his criminal activities.

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This Wednesday, October 13 at the National Hearing in Madrid, begins a highly anticipated mega-trial which will end in January.

That of José Manuel Villarejo, 71, a retired police commissioner accused of political espionage or blackmail cases and even of belonging to a criminal organization.

Alongside 26 alleged accomplices, he risks a heavy sentence.

Since March, he had been on parole after three years in preventive care.

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With our correspondent in Madrid, 

François Musseau

In the name of José Manuel Villarejo alone, the Spaniards immediately think: crooked policeman, blackmailer, unscrupulous spy.

The person concerned had also one day confided to an investigator that he was convinced to always pass between the mesh of justice, so much he accumulated, for more than 30 years, countless recordings and compromising files on powerful personalities .

These include King Emeritus Juan Carlos, currently a refugee in the United Arab Emirates, as well as former politicians, judges, renowned journalists, bosses of the main Spanish groups, to the director of the intelligence services.

His presumed strategy: systematically register these personalities and capitalize on this blackmail.

According to the press, José Manuel Villarejo's fortune amounts to 25 million euros, most of which is in tax havens.

According to the prosecution, the former commissioner would have managed 46 companies, including detective agencies and law firms serving as a screen for his delicious activities.

He faces a conviction of 109 years in prison.

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