Trial probes Franco family patrimony of Pazo de Meirás

Pazo Merais estate, Galicia. Photo: Xurxo Lobato / El Periódico
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A court case brought against the family of former Spanish dictator Francsco Franco by government prosecutors in Galicia heard witness testimony this week that the title to the Pazo de Meirás estate in A Coruña province held by Franco and his heirs successively since 1941 was fraudulent, negating the Franco family’s claim to ownership of the property.

The court case began on Monday and witnesses are scheduled to continue giving testimony through Thursday, with the court ultimately deciding whether or not the Pazo de Meirás property is public property or belongs to the Franco family.

Prosecutors in the case have produced documentation showing that Pazo de Meirás was acquired in 1938 by a Pro-Pazo front organization and not in a private purchase by Franco himself, as indicated in a 1941 contract produced by the family that prosecutors say is post-dated and therefore fraudulent.

► News Sources: El Diario, El Periódico and Público …

Neighbors and expert witnesses testified this week that public monies were used to buy, remodel and manage the property, which served as Franco’s summer residence from 1939 until his death in 1975, when title to the property passed to his heirs.

Witness testimony appeared to uphold prosecutors’ contention that the residence was acquired and remodeled in 1938 through “forced” donations from the neighbors and the surrounding municipalities and that the upkeep of the property was financed and managed with public funds until Franco’s death.

One retired member of the Guardia Civil told the court he provided guard services on the premises until the 1990, while neighbors reported that staff of the A Coruña public works department worked on the estate and local municipal council members were involved in arranging for construction and remodeling work.

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