• The Supreme Court confirms the conviction of Chaves and the imprisonment of Griñán for the ERE case

  • Chronology The biggest cause of open corruption in Spain

The investigation of the ERE, the biggest case of corruption in Spanish democracy, has lasted more than a decade and EL MUNDO has played a central role in the difficult task of unraveling the ins and outs of the

patronage network

woven by the PSOE in Andalusia, on which sentence has finally been passed today: six years in prison for José Antonio Griñán and nine years of disqualification for Manuel Chaves.

Of the many cases of corruption that have occurred in Andalusia in recent decades, without a doubt the investigation that has required the most continuous and exhaustive work has been the one that has ended with the imputation of the former presidents of the Junta de Andalucía Manuel Chaves and José Antonio Griñán, and up to twenty positions at the highest level of successive Andalusian governments.


ERE case

has been for years a recurring issue in the headlines of EL MUNDO, which conscientiously accompanied the instruction that Judge

Mercedes Alaya

was developing .

December 27, 2010: THE WORLD uncovers the scandal

The investigation took its first steps when the PP filed a complaint in 2009 in court for the collection of commissions in the

public company Mercasevilla


From the first moment it was clear that that complaint constituted a case of exceptional political and journalistic relevance, and it is ironic that the person who was later known as the


of the ERE,

Juan Lanzas

, was the one who somehow put the focus of attention of EL MUNDO in the employment regulation files of companies supposedly in crisis, generously subsidized by the Junta de Andalucía.

The name of Juan Lanzas, a former UGT trade unionist, was cited from the outset as one of the key people in the negotiations between the Mercasevilla management and the businessmen of the La Raza group, who had the courage to record the meetings in which a commission was demanded of them in exchange for being awarded the management of a catering school under the umbrella of Mercasevilla, the firm responsible for the Sevillian central food market.

March 10, 2012: Guerrero uncovers the details of the plot. THE WORLD

At the time EL MUNDO learned of Lanzas's name, he called the trade unionist to obtain his version of events.

He wanted to downplay the seriousness of the matter.

Putting himself in the role of a simple well-informed witness, he gave away the key: "Look, Mercasevilla has caught his fingers in the ERE that he has negotiated with his workers; so he is being forced to seek financing from anywhere", he came to tell.

In other words, the commission requested by the company's directors was not for the PSOE or for the personal enrichment of the applicants, but to cover the hole created by the generous pensions agreed upon.

That's what Lanzas wanted us to believe.

But his insistence that the key was in the ERE made us investigate along those lines.

September 16, 2016: 741 million euros embezzled. THE WORLD

The news about the lack of control in the funds allocated to the subsidized ERE and the legal formulas that the Board had devised to avoid the controls began to be published.

Alaya's determination was key in the judicial investigation and it is impossible to know what would have happened to the case without her at the head of the

Investigating Court number 6 in Seville


The former General Director of Labor,

Francisco Javier Guerrero

, declared to the Police on December 21, 2010 that the Board had a "reptile fund" to pay early retirement and aid to companies in crisis.

On January 19, 2011, the judge opened the preliminary proceedings that would give rise to the

ERE case


From there, the scandal increased: increasingly astronomical figures of embezzled money, imputed high officials, officials of the Ministry of Labor who entered prison,

reptile funds

in the epicenter of the Andalusian Government and the whole litany of elements shameful things that have characterized this scandal.

Especially impressive was September 15, 2016, the day on which the Prosecutor's Office estimated the money used by the Andalusian PSOE to pay for its patronage network through illegal EREs at 741 million euros.

The amount was very high and far exceeded the money embezzled in other cases of corruption, including one that led to the presentation of a motion of censure and the formation of the current government.

June 26, 2015: Chaves and Griñán, before the Supreme Court. THE WORLD

In the end, and despite all the accusations that the PSOE made at the time against this newspaper for publishing the case, two former presidents of the Junta and of the PSOE (Chaves and Griñán) sat on the bench, the former minister

Magdalena Álvarez

and the great plumber of Andalusian socialism,

Gaspar Zarrías


All of them, and especially the first two, always received the support of her party, from that of her successor,

De Ella Susana Díaz

, to that of today's acting President of the Government,

Pedro Sánchez


For the History of Spain, however, will remain the sentence that has been known this Tuesday, November 19.

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  • PSOE

  • Manuel Chavez

  • Seville

  • UGT

  • PP

  • Jose Antonio Grinan

  • ERE case