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Former general secretary of the Valencian branch of PP, Ricardo Costa, has admitted today that the PP financed campaign events with dirty money for the municipal and Valencian elections in 2007 with contributions from businesspeople who had contracts with the Valencian government.

Costa made the statement during his testimony before the National Audience court as part of the trial about the alleged illegal financing of the Valencian PP, a separate case arising from the Gürtel affair. During his testimony, the former number two in the regional branch of the party said that the most important decisions about the election campaign were taken by the party's president, Francisco Camps, then president of Valencia, with a team headed by former vice-president Vicente Rambla. Costa declared that the decision that the election events would be organised by the company Orange Market was made by Francisco Camps.

Costa, for whom the public prosecutor is asking for 7 years, 9 months in prison, has admitted the facts he's charged over: three electoral crimes, one for each campaign (municipal and regional in 2007, general election in 2008) and one crime of falsified documents.

He explained that he knew that there were irregularities in the party's financing and that he did nothing to avoid it. "I accept the consequences", he said, asking for forgiveness from "Valencian and Spanish society and my family".

New financing

In his statement, Costa said that another former Valencian vice-president, Victor Camps, showed him envelopes full of dirty money from businesspeople and that he told him that it was a ordered by Francisco Camps and the former speaker of the Valencian Parliament, Juan Cotino.

He confessed that they suggested a new financing method to him, by which the organisers of the election campaigns, Orange Market, would draw up fake invoices in the names of businesspeople. Given the doubts he had over the idea, Costa said he informed the PP's then treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, who told him that it was a practice prohibited by the PP and would be a "second Filesa affair", referring to a corruption case deriving from the funding of PSOE's 1989 election campaign.

The former secretary general of the Valencian PP added that, following Orange Market's insistence to charge for the events, he told them they should speak to Vicente Rambla or Francisco Camps.

Despite his testimony originally being scheduled for this afternoon, Costa asked to be allowed to go first today. He started by saying that he would explain the fact "after a deep reflection with my family and my wife" and with the intention to collaborate with the justice system, saying that he would necessarily be basing it on previous statements.

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