Spanish judge looking to prosecute Socialists' former No. 2

Madrid, Jun 7 (EFE).- A Spanish Supreme Court justice on Friday confirmed his intention to prosecute former development minister and ex-No. 2 of the Socialist Party, Jose Blanco, for influence peddling.

Justice Jose Ramon Soriano has asked Spain's lower house to authorize him to proceed against Blanco, who currently enjoys parliamentary immunity as a lawmaker.

The judge wants to try Blanco for influence peddling as opposed to official misconduct; if his petition is granted, the Socialist legislator could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court's Criminal Chamber.

The Supreme Court justice is investigating whether businessman Jorge Dorribo, owner of a pharmaceutical company, bribed Blanco and other politicians to expedite the processing of his company's paperwork.

Other politicians with the ruling conservative Popular Party, the main opposition Socialists and the left-wing Galician Nationalist Bloc also are being probed in the case, known in Spain as "Operacion Campeon" (Operation Champion).

Blanco was development minister from 2009 to 2011 under former Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's administration and deputy general of the Socialist party between 2008 and 2012.