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Jan 20, 2015 11:47 AM

Spain: Church electrician doesn't remember Codex confession

The Associated Press

MADRID (AP) The former electrician for Spain's famed cathedral in Santiago de Compostela denied Tuesday having ever seen the priceless 12th-century Codex Calixtinus that authorities found in his garage and insisted he doesn't remember confessing to stealing it.

The richly-decorated Codex, which went missing in 2011, is considered the first guide for Christians making the pilgrimage to venerate St. James.

Jose Manuel Fernandez Castineiras, who is in his 60s, made the declarations a day after his lawyer argued that the confession should be thrown out.

The lawyer, Carmen Ventoso, also said judges should throw out security video appearing to show her client in a cathedral office stuffing money into his pockets.

Fernandez Castineiras faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Authorities who searched the electrician's home in 2012 also found other valuable religious works and recovered more than 1 million euros ($1.2 million).

His wife, Remedios Nieto, testified Tuesday that she never saw the money in her home and wasn't surprised when her husband bought property because she said he worked hard and was a dedicated saver.

She also said her husband wouldn't allow family members to enter a workspace he used because he said he kept paperwork there that he didn't want disturbed.

The popular pilgrimage depicted in the Codex across northern Spain to the cathedral in the northwestern Galicia region was inspired by the reputed discovery of the apostle's tomb around the year 800.


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