Yesterday the Spanish Civil Guard carried out 9 simultaneous searches of public buildings which form part of Madrid town hall. The Environment agency and Urban planning departments are being investigated together with 3 town councils -Centro, Chamberí and San Blas.
Police sources confirmed that the operation nicknamed Guateque is the result of an investigation into presumed corrupt behaviour of some of Madrid town hall’s officials. The Vice Mayor of Madrid, Manuel Cobo, said that there were around 16 town hall workers involved in the case and so far at least 3 had been arrested this morning. The charges range from bribery, neglect of duty and the abuse of power.
In a press conference Cobo went on to emphasise that the majority of those under investigation have been working for many years in Madrid’s town hall and there were no elected councillors or high ranking officials under investigation. He said that the investigation was looking into the charging of illegal commissions paid in exchange for licenses for the opening of small businesses such as shops, restaurants and discos.
Cobo had not been able to put a figure on the amount of the commission paid to town hall officials involved in the case. He emphasised again that the operation was against civil servants within Madrid’s town hall and that it wasn’t the town hall itself that was being investigated. He couldn’t rule out whether there would be any further arrests.
The investigation which has been underway since this summer has involved 10 telephone lines being tapped as well as houses and businesses being searched. Police carrying out the investigation have seized documents and computers.
Madrid’s Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón said that ‘no type of irregular behaviour by Madrid town hall employees would be tolerated’.
Moreover he said that he didn’t want this case to tarnish the reputation of the rest of the town hall’s workforce.
Related: Guide to Madrid