Helga Schmidt is free. Her arrest is a scandal.main
The artistic director of the Palau de les Arts in Valencia has been set free on police bail.
Her passport has been confiscated and she will be called in for further questioning.
Helga Schmidt and her predecessor, Ernesto Moreno, are being investigated for misappropriation of funds at the art centre since it opened in 2005.
The judge is a prominent anti-corruption investigator.
So far, so legal and fit and proper.
But was it necessary to arrest a woman in her 70s at her hotel*, drive her to her workplace for five hours of evidence gathering and then subject her to daylong police interrogation?
The woman is artistic director of an opera house. She is an expert in casting operas, no more, no less. The money that passed through her hands was trivial compared to, say, anyone handling government defence or utility contracts. In a long career, she has never previously been accused of financial malfeasance.
The investigator in Valencia has taken a hammer to crack a peanut. It is possible that Helga’s human rights were breached. Without prejudicing the case in any way, one has to ask: was this an appropriate way to treat a lady of advanced years and impeccable character who has devoted her life to the arts and brought Valencia more opera than it has ever known?
*correction to earlier post