The European Grand Prix could be facing an uncertain future as one of its principal supporters faces a court hearing on allegations of corruption that could include the development of the Valencia harbourside venue.
Regional president Francisco Camps - who played a key role in convincing Bernie Ecclestone to switch the European GP from Germany to Spain in response to the growing popularity of F1 in the wake of Fernando Alonso's back-to-back world titles - is due in court today [Wednesday] to face charges of accepting 'bribes and backhanders' in exchange for awarding key 'contracts and illegal building permits'. It is thought that these contracts could include some of those involved in the construction of both the 'street circuit' used for the Valencia-based grand prix, and the America's Cup port development in which it is situated.
The allegations go beyond 46-year old Camps and include various members of the regional administration operated by the Partido Popular party. The opposition, led by a group of other party administrators under the Compromís banner, has called for the resignation of all those implicated in the Gürtel corruption case, which has spread to encompass politicians in Madrid as well as Valencia.
Compromís has claimed that a degree of political responsibility should be shown by its rival, headlined either by Camps tendering his resignation or calling regional elections in Valencia. High-ranking Partido Popular members, including former regional councillor Víctor Campos and regional general secretary Ricardo Costa are understood to have already appeared in court, with Camps due to be accompanied on Wednesday by regional official Rafael Betoret and Álvaro Pérez, the owner of the Orange Market company which is accused of offering inducements in both Madrid and Valencia.
While regional and municipal Partido Popular representatives are suspected of accepting millions of euros in bribes, Camps has claimed that he nothing to hide over rumours suggesting that he accepted suits worth tens of thousands of euros, denying the charges against him, and insisting that the Valencia regional government was 'honourable'.