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Title: Spanish judge says probes have ruined his career
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Spanish investigative judge Baltasar Garzon, who faces charges of abusing power after he pursued a series of sensitive cases, said on Wednes...

Spanish investigative judge Baltasar Garzon, who faces charges of abusing power after he pursued a series of sensitive cases, said on Wednesday his career at the High Court has been ruined even if he is cleared.

Garzon, who won fame for trying to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, faces three separate cases in the Supreme Court over his investigations into corruption and into human rights abuses during Spain's 40-year dictatorship.

Such charges made it difficult for him handle further cases. "Any interested party could use as an argument in his defence the fact that the judge has been on trial... for his independent interpretation of the law," Garzon told a news conference.

The Supreme Court decided in April to try him for violating the rights of defendants in a corruption case involving members of the opposition Popular Party (PP), by ordering phone taps of suspects' calls with their lawyers.

Garzon, who has been suspended and may end up in the dock before the defendants themselves, says he ordered the taps to monitor any possible attempt by the suspects to use their lawyers to launder proceeds from the corruption ring.

"I was trying to balance two rights: the fundamental rights of the defence, as well as the rights of the public, for these crimes to be investigated," he said, adding that there were signs that money laundering was still going on at the time he authorised the taps

 

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