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We woke up this Thursday to one of those news stories which can really threaten the structures of a state: a recording in which the current justice minister, Dolores Delgado, is heard explaining in all manner of detail a trip to Colombia with different members of the judiciary, including Supreme Court judges and members of the public prosecution service who allegedly ended up with "some 17-year-old chicks", underage girls. Delgado's testimony was narrated during a 2009 lunch with the famous commissioner Villarejo and other police officials; at that time the now minister was a prosecutor at the National Audience court.

The story, really, couldn't be more horrifying or reprehensible, since it very directly affects the working of the state itself. It's certain that it's emerged thanks to the blackmail commissioner Villarejo, now in Estremera prison, is using to regain his freedom. Unveiling this police officer at this time is unnecessary since his very important role with various ministers of the so-called sewers of the state is more than well-enough known. Today we know he was recording everything and that he's in a position to destroy many political and business careers. The question is not to denounce what Villarejo did, that's why he's in prison, rather to work out what to do with the material he seems decided to continue supplying. Can the Spanish government and political class close their eyes in the face of all the material being published and end the debate saying it's a tussle between the state and a corrupt police officer.

It already did that when the audio was leaked of princess Corinna detailing commissions taken by the former king when playing intermediary in concessions to Spanish companies, like for example the contract to build the Mecca-Medina high-speed rail link. The accusations are being brushed over both by the prosecution and the Congress, where PP, PSOE and Cs opposed the creation of a commission to investigate. Now, the parties suspicious of the material which Villarejo might have are treading carefully when it comes to using it. That's their problem.

But the state has another, more serious problem: can it let the stench spread without doing anything? Can a National Audience prosecutor explain as if nothing had happened the connection of judges and prosecutors with minors in the process, she says, of a trip by an official delegation? Where do its responsibilities start and end in this salacious episode? The minister of justice who started out denying that she knew commissioner Villarejo, and who we now know, through these recordings, went to an exclusive lunch he also attended, says she won't resign. And, really, it seems the least important thing to me. When the stench is so intense, it's not a matter of a resignation. It's much more serious.

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