Mayor arrested in anti-corruption raid in Marbella Town Hall

Spanish police have arrested Marisol Yagüe, Mayoress of Marbella, together with another 18 people, including counsellors, businessmen and lawyers, this morning in an unprecedented raid carried out on the Town Hall. A police spokesman told media that the raids represent the latest step of a long investigation aimed at uncovering a complex network linked to a wide range of criminal acts. Police have searched offices in the town hall, aswell as several private businesses and the homes of Marbella’s mayoress and director of urban affairs.

As a result of this morning’s operation, over 1000 bank accounts have been blocked. The accused are charged with bribery, prevarication and traffic of influences.

Ever since real estate speculation began in earnest in Marbella with the boom of tourism a few decades ago, urbanistic rules and regulations have been designed, undone and often simply violated at the apparant whim of whoever was in charge at the town hall. The last mayor, Julian Muñoz, was voted out of office two years ago by his own policital party, and is due to make several court appearances to answer various charges related to bribery and corruption.

And his predecessor, Jesus Gil, who was mayor of Marbella for 11 years, was accused of violating urbanistic laws more than 200 times and was eventually given a prison sentence and forbidden from participating in politics for 28 years. When he died 2 years ago, Gil still had numerous court cases pending, and was involved in a constant exchange of accusations with his successor Muñoz.

In 2005, when the current mayoress was already in power, the president of the Andalusian Regional Government, Manuel Chaves, suddenly withdrew all urbanistic powers from Marbella Town Hall and an investigation was launched, resulting in today’s operation.