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Haiti hospital fraudster escapes jail for now

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Haiti hospital fraudster escapes jail for now
Blasco could still be landed with an eight year jail sentence if Spain's Supreme Court upholds the initial ruling. Photo: PP Valencia/Flickr
09:41 CEST+02:00
The Spanish politician who bought real estate with millions of euros meant for a hospital in earthquake-hit Haiti and other humanitarian projects in Latin America has hastily paid his €200,000 bail to escape jail for the time being.

Valencia regional deputy Rafael Blasco could still be landed with an eight year jail sentence if Spain’s Supreme Court upholds the initial ruling.

The country’s anticorruption prosecutor called for the judge to keep Blasco behind bars or that they at least set bail at €2 million arguing there was a high risk he would flee and that  it would also prove his questionably high capital assets if  he had coughed up the sum.

According to Spanish daily El País, the magistrates agreed there was a risk but thought that bail was disproportionate as Blasco has already had his passport seized and was banned from leaving the country.

The 69-year-old has been found guilty of leading a plot whichdefrauded €1.8 million set aside for development schemes in Nicaragua and €4 million for a bogus hospital project in Haiti in the aftermath of their devastating 2010 earthquake.

He did so by pressuring his employees into handing out subsidies to the Cyes Foundation, a fake NGO which syphoned off the funds into real estate purchases in Spain’s Valencia region.

Blasco, who switched from Spain’s Socialist Party to the right-wing Popular Party when he was kicked out for allegedly accepting bribes in return for favours to real estate developers, has defended his innocence throughout the trial and is now appealing.

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