On Wednesday March 21, 1984, Antonio Torres, a 35-year-old psychologist who became mayor of his town, Lebrija (Seville), locked himself up with fifty day laborers in the offices of the National Employment Institute of the Andalusian capital.
They protested, the ABC in its issue the following day, due to delays in the arrival of funds for the payment of the rural employment subsidy, a claim that would become effective two years later.
That confinement was simultaneous to another carried out that same day by farm workers in the Lebrijano town hall, an act that Torres supported. Those were times of day labor. He, a left-wing mayor of the PSOE, had to support the cheap labor that picked cotton and grapes or weed beets in the Andalusian fields.
The regidor was a firm defender of the idea that, if there were no wages in the years of bad harvests or during the winters, the workers would charge an agricultural strike when they were inactive.
But 36 years later, in a car dated last October 9, the Court of Instruction number 6 of Seville processed Antonio Torres for collecting 491,203.03 euros “Without the record that it actually worked.”
He imputes the alleged crimes of administrative prevarication and embezzlement of public funds. To access employment he had “no more merit than his affinity and personal and political ties” with an exalted Andalusian PSOE official, Fernando Villén.
The examining magistrate points out that he did so “also enjoying the benefits of a fictitious registration in Social Security” thanks to the managerial position that was expressly created for him (“ad hoc”, says the order) in the former Andalusian Foundation Training Fund and Employment (Faffe), where he joined after losing the municipal elections of 2003.
There he appeared as an employee until May 2011, when Faffe joined the Andalusian Employment Service (SAE). “He didn’t even go to the foundation’s headquarters or do any work. He was unknown to other workers and managers, although business or presentation cards were procured ”, says the aforementioned order, consulted by EL ESPAÑOL.
“The little activity carried out, limited to specific contacts with a politician or authority”, Antonio Torres carried out “always” from his home “and with his own means, computer and generic and free email account,” says the instructor in its resolution, transferred to the parties and to the Prosecutor’s Office this past Wednesday.
The judge grants them a period of ten days to request the opening of the oral trial, formulate an accusation document or request the dismissal of the case.
With the “most needy”
Almost 40 years after those confinements of the 80s, Torres seems to have forgotten some of the phrases with which he describes himself in his own Web page.
In it he reviews his life. He talks about his young years and his moral and political closeness with the poorer social classes. It is curious that in his biography he talks about himself in the third person, and not in the first person, when he is the author himself.
“Before turning 11, he entered the seminary, where he studied high school. It is precisely in the seminary where he received a decisive influence from the progressive ideas of the Second Vatican Council, which in his case would later be reflected in a personal commitment to fight for political freedom and social justice in favor of those most in need ”.
Antonio Torres is attributed the creation of Rural Employment Plan (the old PER) in Andalusia and Extremadura “as a transforming investment of the peoples”. “Se can affirm that it was invented in Lebrija based on a proposal from the Lebrija City Council raised in 1983 before the Junta de Andalucía and the Government of Spain “, indicates the exregidor of the mentioned municipality.
The Brothel Client
But a judge has now dismantled Torres’s facade of social bonhomie. The former mayor of Lebrija, who held the position for 24 years (1979-2003), was plugged into Faffe by the former technical general director, Fernando Villén, who is also accused in this case.
A native of Cadiz, and a psychologist like Torres, Villén ran a foundation dedicated to fighting Andalusian unemployment, which he hired and hired without abiding by any rule.
An audit commissioned by the Andalusian Government estimated at 8,844 people who entered the Faffe to work irregularly between 2009 and 2011. At least 200 of them had links with the PSOE and with the two main unions, CCOO-A and UGT- TO. One of them, says the Court of Instruction number 6 of Seville, It was the Lebrijano ex-regidor himself.
In another case for which Villén is also being investigated, there is a report from the Central Operative Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard that includes 43 expenses in 13 visits to five brothels in Cádiz, Seville and Córdoba.
In total, 31,969 euros were spent on prostitution between 2004 and 2009. Faffe executives had eight bank cards associated with three checking accounts with a total balance of 828 million euros. The case is also being investigated in the same court that has tried Antonio Torres.
Antonio Villén was summoned this past Friday in the investigation commission of the Andalusian Parliament that tries to settle political responsibilities in the use of the credit cards of the foundation that he presided. Villén decided not to appear. Of course, he is willing to do so when the judicial process ends.
In May 2018 he told ABC of Seville that he had used a card “by mistake” at the Don Angelo hostess club, in Seville, during a bachelor party.
Precisely, Villén is the one who decided to hire Torres as a manager after he left the mayoralty of his town. The judge assures that exregidor “lacked the aptitudes to be able to carry out the supposed functions as a technician that should be attributed to him.”
Villén plugged in Antonio Torres, who would have asked him for “placement” after handing over the municipal baton, “by his own will, without any evaluation process” and in an “unfair and arbitrary” manner, the order says.
The magistrate adds: “There is no documentation that reveals a minimum compliance with the requirements and budgets that regulate the selection and hiring of personnel.” The instructor points out that the former mayor of Lebrija “would have cooperated and contributed to said illegal hiring (…) naturally agreeing with Villén for that purpose.”
No physical headquarters
The former director of the Faffe created a new position for his friend Torres. He appointed him director of External Relations. In reality, it was a “non-existent” department, which lacked structure, functions and content, “without physical headquarters, offices, offices, or attached personnel.”
Antonio Torres was born in Lebrija on August 4, 1949 into a peasant family. After going through a seminary, where he studied high school, he graduated in Psychology. Before being mayor of his town, he taught for two years in high schools in Huelva capital and Almonte.
In 1975 he began to teach Dynamic Psychology and Psychoanalytic Techniques as a professor at the University of Seville. He did not leave it until 1985. Between 1979 and that year he had to reconcile his teaching work with that of mayor of his hometown. The Lebrijanos re-elected him by an absolute majority in the municipal elections of 1983, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1999.
Antonio Torres explains in his biography that he is a university expert in Institutional Communication and Political Marketing from the University of Seville (2004) and that he completed a master’s degree in Political Management from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (2010).
In the case of the first of the two courses, he got Faffe to pay for him half of the 2,274.04 euros that the registration cost, according to the Civil Guard.
This newspaper contacted him this past Friday. Antonio Torres declined to make any kind of statement. On April 14, 2015, when his name appeared linked to an alleged corruption plot in the foundation for which he was fictitiously employed for eight years, the former mayor of Lebrija explained in a statement that he did work at Faffe and that he developed various projects.
Among the three he mentioned, he pointed to an agreement signed in September 2005 with the Ministry of the Interior to favor the labor insertion of women inmates. “My dedication and effort in the management tasks carried out is sufficiently clear,” he said five years ago. “And of course that everything I affirm is documented and will be clarified in court.”
But, five years later, that same justice to which Antonio Torres appeals seems not to take his word for it.