Mayor jailed for €6,000 on private mobile calls

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THE Mayor of La Puebla del Rio (Sevilla), Julio Alvarez Gonzalez, has been sentenced to three years in prison for spending more than €6,000 on personal calls using the town hall mobile phone. Former councillor Juan Carlos Benitez has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for altering the phone bills and covering up for the mayor between September 1999 and February 2001.

The mayor, who claimed when he was arrested in 2003 that his personal phone and the one from the town hall were the same model and he hadn’t realized which one he was using, has also been banned from holding the position of mayor for six months, after being found guilty of embezzlement of public funds.

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He also claimed that he sometimes left the phone at home and any member of his family, especially his daughter, could have used it. The mayor says he paid back the money when he realized the error.

Most of the €6,107 was spent on private calls, some to sex lines, more than 77 per cent of which were reportedly to his ex-girlfriend’s mobile or landline.

He sent her thousands of text messages every day and called her 25 times on Valentine’s Day. He said that he done nothing wrong as the person he had called was not his girlfriend, but a sexual abuse victim, and would “do it a thousand times more if necessary”.


He later clarified that the woman had been his girlfriend when they were in their teens. He denied having made calls to her as a girlfriend but said he had been asked to help her.

He has been married for more than 26 years and been mayor since 1999. He blames the calls to erotic chat lines on his son or a close friend.

 


 

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