Franco’s grandson sentenced to jail for ramming police car

The eldest grandson of late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was sentenced to 30 months in jail Thursday for deliberately ramming a police car following a high-speed chase.

Franco's grandson sentenced to jail for ramming police car
Archive photo: AFP

A court in Teruel in eastern Spain sentenced Francisco Franco Martinez-Bordiu, 63, to 18 months jail for aggravated assault and 12 more months for dangerous driving, a court spokeswoman told AFP.

He will also have to pay €1,500 ($1,800) to one agent who was injured and €2,720  to the Guardia Civil police force for their damaged vehicle.   

According to a complaint lodged by a police officer involved in the car chase, Guardia Civil officers on April 30, 2012 spotted Martinez-Bordiu driving near Calamocha in the province of Teruel in the dark without any

When they signalled for him to stop, he instead picked up speed and jumped several stop signs before ramming a patrol car, running it off the road.    

Martinez-Bordiu, one of seven children by Franco's only daughter Maria del Carmen Franco Polo, who died in December, denied being in the vehicle that rammed the patrol car when he appeared in court in 2014.

His lawyer told reporters that on that day Martinez-Bordiu had loaned his car to a former Romanian employee who “probably” no longer lived in Spain.   

It was the latest in a series of brushes with the law experienced by the heirs of Franco, who ruled Spain with an iron fist from 1939 until his death in 1975.

Martinez-Bordiu, who published a book about his grandfather, was charged in 2009 with assaulting a railway employee at a train station in Zaragoza in northern Spain after he missed his train.

He was acquitted after the employee who accused him of striking her failed to show up at his trial.

His younger brother Jaime Martinez-Bordiu was given a one-year suspended sentence in 2009 for beating his then girlfriend at a hotel on the Costa del Sol.


Spain to exhume bodies of civil war victims at Valley of the Fallen

The Spanish government on Tuesday approved a special fund to exhume graves at the Valley of the Fallen, where thousands of victims of the Spanish Civil War and dictator Francisco Franco are buried.

Spain to exhume bodies of civil war victims at Valley of the Fallen
Women hold up pictures of their fathers and relatives, who were condemned to death during Franco’s dictatorship. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP

The Socialist government said it had set aside €665,000 ($780,000) to exhume some 33,000 victims whose remains lie behind a vast basilica near Madrid.

Franco was buried in the basilica when he died in 1975 but his remains were removed in 2019 and transferred to a discreet family plot on the outskirts of the capital.

Government spokesperson Maria Jesus Montera told reporters that more than 60 families and international institutions had called for the exhumation of the victims to give relatives who suffered during the civil war and Franco’s dictatorship “moral reparation”.

Campaigners estimate more than 100,000 victims from the war and its aftermath remain buried in unmarked graves across Spain —- a figure, according to Amnesty International, only exceeded by Cambodia.

Human remains discovered during exhumation works carried out by the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory of Valladolid, in a mass grave where the bodies of hundreds of people were dumped during the Spanish civil war. Photo by CESAR MANSO/AFP

Built between 1940 and 1958 partly by the forced labour of political prisoners, the imposing basilica and the mausoleum of the Valley of the Fallen was initially intended for those who had fought for Franco.

But in 1959 the remains of many Republican opponents were moved there from cemeteries and mass graves across the country without their families being informed.

The crypts and ossuaries where some of the victims are buried are inaccessible as they were walled off at the time.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has made the rehabilitation of the victims of the Franco era one of his priorities since coming to power in 2018.

As well as the Valley of the Fallen, his government is also focusing on identifying remains founds in mass graves across Spain.