Under death threats because his disclosures about Tourism corruption
Eight years suffering harassment in Spain because of his work revealing official corruption.
Spanish Justice acquitted one of his stalkers, although it was proved that he was threatening him from an official phone.
A second hit man, who six years ago attacked to the journalist, just been acquitted by a criminal judge, too.
The Spanish judges denied him the injunction requested to preserve his safety as a journalist.
Tomás F. Ruiz, Spanish journalist who has been investigating some hidden aspects of a new kind of mafia which operates with absolute impunity into Spanish Tourism institutions, was in two occasions attacked by hit men, provoking him more than three years of damages. The both offenders have been absolved by the penal judge of the charges of premeditated attack against a professional of information and belonging to criminal gang operating with violent means. «The Justice in Spain -says the assaulted journalist-, is there just to protect the criminals gangs and corrupted politicians, instead the job and safety of the journalists».
«The journalists´ situation in Spain is going critically worse each time -says Tomas F. Ruiz, 57-, specially of those ones who are investigating into the dirty business linked to the official corruption… Spanish professionals of information involved in searching about political corruption and the complicity of the judges with criminal gangs, face continuous death threats and unexpected attacks. The hit men who harassing and assaulting the journalists enjoy of an absolute official impunity to carry out their attacks… Both police and judges, are the nearest accomplices of the gangsters into the corrupted network in which Spanish Justice is today engaged».
The defencelessness brought about by those who should protect the work of professional reporters (Spanish police and judges) and that actually encourage the stalkers attacks, has forced Tomás F. Ruiz to keep his whereabouts hidden for over six years. Currently Tomas F. Ruiz has had to leave Spain to avoid new attacks.
The World Heritage Organisation
Throughout years 2005 to 2008 Tomas F. Ruiz published hot information in Spanish press revealing the official corruption net that affects to the Spanish Tourism in its World Heritage sites. This web of official corruption begun in the township of Cuenca (declared World Heritage site from 1996), supported by Fundación Turismo de Cuenca, and reached the top General Direction of Tourism in Castilla-La Mancha (Toledo).
Tomas F. Ruiz revealed that into the soiled net is also involved the national Tourism organisation Grupo Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad de España. Despite having been warned of this documented and widespread corruption net, none of the official inspection agencies of World Heritage Cities did anything about it.
The President of Castilla-La Mancha community (an inside Spanish region where Cervantes was inspired to write The Quijote book), Mrs. Dolores Cospedal, 49, has been fully and documentary informed of this situation. She has not taken any action in order to avoid or investigate that proved and spread political corruption net.
The group Heritage Cities of Spain, the agency which should strictly monitor the quality of tourism services in Spain, not only evades its duty in this respect, but covers and protects corrupted Spanish businessmen. Was the case of its president woman, Mrs. Lourdes Costa, who has been protecting in his administration in Ibiza to one of the most supposedly corrupted business woman reported in Castilla-La Mancha, Mrs. Ángeles Revuelta Taranilla, who was allegedly responsible of attacks against the journalist who were investigating her dirty business (allegedly because, in despite the strong evidence, she never was processed).
Along years 2005 and 2006 Tomas F. Ruiz published in Spanish press his researches about Tourism official corruption. Besides the favoured treatment to private companies by Administration officers, Tomás F. Ruiz revealed how the touristic companies in Heritage town of Cuenca (Castilla-La Mancha, Spain) were scamming to tourists with fake tour guides. In 2005 the journalist suffered his first attack. Guillermo De Leon Virtudes, a local a tourism entrepreneur who had been quoted as a corrupt business man in the Tomas F. Ruiz press reports, assaulted the journalist in the streets of
Tomas F. Ruiz denounced him in front of court, and showed that his assailant was waiting him just outside of his home and attacked him while he was repeating: «We have told you to be quiet» (in reference to the criminal gang to which the entrepreneur allegedly belongs).
The journalist managed to escape off the attacker and entered into the reception of a hotel, in front of which the assault happened. In the trial that resulted from such aggression was not taken into account the statement of eyewitnesses (hotel receptionists who attended to Tomas F. Ruiz and called to the police).
Nor the fact that the attack had occurred at a few meters from the home of the journalist, nor the police reports provided by Tomas F. Ruiz (in which was confirmed the presence of the assailant vehicle parked in front of the journalist´s home), were collected or assessed in the criminal trial. Although both facts showed that the attacker was waiting to the journalist and it was a premeditated assault, the events were rated as a chance encounter in the judgement.
The Court agreed to higher orders and issued a fake medical report where the journalist´s damages were reduced from two months to just three days. Because of the scratches that the assailant presented, as a result of the struggle while the journalist was trying to flee his attack, Tomas F. Ruiz was sentenced to compensate her attacker. All appeals that Tomas F. Ruiz presented in higher courts, proving the numerous irregularities in the judiciary procedure, were rejected.
In December 2006 Tomas F. Ruiz began to receive telephone calls with death threats, in which he was threatened to be killed if he continued ahead his corruption investigation. In despite those threats, he continued revealing in Spanish press that in the corruption business were involved administrative staff and political offices in Castilla-La Mancha regionAmong others, the journalist informations pointed to the former Cuenca´s Mayor, José Manuel Martinez Cenzano, as the main piece into the local corruption net. This Mayor would be also nominated for Ombudsman for Castilla-La Mancha region some years after. The Spanish senator Pedro Bustos Amores was also directly involved in corruption detected in the Tourism sector.
The journalist´s reports revealed the favourable official treatment for two private Spanish tour companies (CUSETUR and TURALIA), giving even the fact that the official responsibles of Tourism sector, Angel Valiente Poyatos and Carlos Villar Diaz, allowed these both companies to systematically break down the Spanish laws.
In February 2007, Tomas F. Ruiz continued to receive death threats, this time from a phone number that was picked up on his mobile and was checked by agents of the National Police when he submitted the complaint in Police station. This number corresponded to the official Prefecture venue of Cuenca town (Subdelegación de Gobierno, in Spanish denomination).
In July 2008 the judges were informed of the significant fact that some of the threats the journalist was receiving came from a dependency of the Ministry of Interior. They did nothing about it: nor investigated in which dependence were originated the calls, nor cited the alleged perpetrator of the telephone calls.
Tomas F. Ruiz started to felt that, behind this suspicious judiciary behaviour, there was a deeper protection for his harassers. Finally, he decided that his life could be in danger and was forced to leave the town of Cuenca. He settled in Madrid, where he continued with his journalistic research over institutional corruption.
Complicity of officials
During October and November 2008, Tomas F. Ruiz sporadically travelled to Cuenca to get documentary evidences about how the corruption worked. He was working getting videos and pictures. In these videos he recorded how a local company, involved in the corruption network, swindled tourists with fake tour guides (without any official accreditation). This illegal behaviour came to provoke outrage between customers themselves, and some of them sent letters of protest published in the local press.
The reporter noted that the Secretary of Tourism Carlos Villar Diaz had developed an insistent work of persecution against all tour guides, except for those who belonging to protected companies, CUSETUR and TURALIA (one of whose owners was the same entrepreneur who attacked the journalist at the gates of his home in 2005).
In early November 2008, Tomas F. Ruiz sent all these information about corruption to Tourism Inspection Department in Castilla-La Mancha, where responded him to immediately initiate corrective actions.
On 23 November 2008, Tomas F. Ruiz was attacked by a hit man at the gates of the Spanish National Parador, while he was recording in a video tape the scam that were committing against a group of Japanese tourists. The gunman tried to destroy the camera and to coerce to the journalist, ordering him to maintain «mouth shut» about corruption and abandoning his research on institutional corruption.
The national police agents who attended the attack, even though Tomas F. Ruiz showed them his official press card, refused to arrest his attacker. They also refused to show their badge numbers, when the journalist required them to do it, so as law says.
The criminal judge handling the case in Cuenca, Honour Mrs. María Sonsoles Jimeno Gutiérrez, refused to grant an injunction restraining against hit man to ensure the safety of the journalist. His decision has been endorsed by the Provincial Court (Audiencia Provincial de Cuenca). From last September 1st 2014, the hit man enjoys an acquittal (absolutory sentence) of his brutal attack.
«We are protected by judges»
Because his life was in danger due to attacks and death threats, Tomas F. Ruiz moved to Madrid where he was living in an anonymous address for two years. In early 2011 he found walking around his home in Madrid to the same hit man who assaulted him years ago in Cuenca. The journalist filed a new complaint at a police station in Madrid, where the agents informed him that they could not do anything about it, since there was not any injunction order against his assailant that would force him to stay away.
Again the journalist started to receive threats through his mobile phone. The stalkers informed him that they knew perfectly his whereabouts in Madrid and that he had to stop from going ahead with his corruption researches, or the consequences would be far worse than those suffered until that moment.
In December 2011, given that the journalist did not answer mobile calls with anonymous sender, a text message was sent him, warning that if he continued on with his investigations about corruption he would be killed.
In this text, the harassers wrote to journalist that they were being protected by the judges. The journalist filed another complaint in Madrid, where national police officers copied literally the text message received: «If you keep going we kill you… Don´t you see how the judges protect us?»
In 30 November 2012, the judge Honour Gonzalo Criado del Rey, magistrate of the First Court of Cuenca town, acquitted the author of the death threats Francisco Javier de Leon Cuesta, an staff in the official Prefecture (Subdelegación del Gobierno) and consanguineous relative with the first journalist´s aggressor.
On September 2014, after six years waiting the trial, the Criminal Judge Honour Maria Sonsoles Jimeno Gutierrez absolved of charges of premeditated attack and belonging to criminal gang to the second gunman who attacked journalist, Juan Ramón Fernandez Serrano, alias Juanra.
* Text and photos: Tomas F. Ruiz. Spanish journalist (FAPE register nº 11397)
Corruption in Spanish Tourism
The Spanish Tourism sector has entered into a spiral of pervasive corruption which seriously threatens its survival as the most important economic force and first revenue source in the country. Private entrepreneurs, politicians and institutions, official staff and even Spanish judges are now joined together into a network of widespread corruption which deteriorates deeply and irremediably the quality of Spanish Tourism sector.
As a part of imperatives of this corruption net, the Spanish Administration is destroying to all small employers and self-employed touristic business, in order to profit favoured companies. The touristic firms protected by Administration only pursue a goal: illegal enrichment as fast as be possible, disregarding the quality of touristic services they offer. In that way, all the future of the economic tourism sector in Spain is being buried.
These favoured touristic Spanish companies are now scamming with absolute impunity to foreign tourist groups visiting Spain. The Spanish Justice, through its corrupted magistrates, protects all these dirty business men and takes part of their profitable business.
PD. All official documents, proofs and evidences of administrative corruption cases, as well any other information, may be requested by Email to firstname.lastname@example.org