Earlier reports that corruption in Spain could be in decline were rather optimistic if the number of possible cases of political corruption being reported by the Spanish media are anything to go by. The list seems to be endless, and every week lately new cases of possible bribes, illegal commission for building licences, unchallenged illegal building developments etc. come to light.
Most of the corruption cases center around real estate speculation and development. Yesterday Cadena Ser reported that Spanish police had found 13,000 illegal constructions in Spain in the past year and a half. Here are just some of the corruption charges in the news at the moment:
Corruption in Marbella: The biggest case of corruption to be uncovered in Spain so far. A police investigation into money laundering and drug trafficking in southern Spain codenamed operation white whale and involving phone tapping overheard conversations between politicians in Marbella which led to a parallel investigation being set up to investigate bribery, corruption, manipulation of public tenders and compensation for illegal building licences.
Over 150 police participated in “Operation Malaya” and six months ago over 20 people were arrested, including the then Mayoress and Deputy Mayoress of Marbella. The investigation is still going on, and the profits made by people participating in this massive network of corruption is expected to be millions and millions of euros.
Corruption in Madrid: The authorities of various town halls in the suburbs of Madrid are suspected of accepting commissions for allowing building to be developed on protected land, accepting commissions or being involved in the purchase of cheap land where building is not allowed, then modifying the urban laws so that building becomes legal, and then reselling the land for huge sums of money to property developers.
Earlier this week it was revealed that an uncle of the President of the Region of Madrid made an enormous profit on land which was re-catagorised as building land shortly after he bought it a few years ago.
Today El País publishes a conversation held 3 years ago in which a former PP councillor of Tres Cantos, Madrid, in reference to the concession by the Town Hall of a massive property development to a private company is reported as saying “I want my 11 percent of the 30,000 million” (pesetas)”Give me the dough and I’ll go”.
According to el Pais, the ex-PP councillor has acknowleded the declarations but said they were made in the heat of the moment. Meanwhile the same paper today reports that two former mayors of another Madrid suburb, Ciempozuelos, this time from the Socialist party, recently paid 916,000 euros into personal bank accounts in a bank in Andorra. The PSOE party forced the current mayor to resign when the public prosecutor ordered an investigation into possible irregular operations in the urban policies of Ciempozuelos last week and the Socialist party has announced a “Zero-tolerance” policy on urban corruption on all sides.
Corruption in Avila: Earlier this month building on a golf course in Avila was bought to a halt after ecologists protested that the developer – a private company set up by the local and regional administration – was ignoring a court order to stop cutting down trees in a protected area.
And the list goes on…..