SEVEN people, including the former Socialist mayor of Alcaucin, Jose Manuel Martin Alba, has been arrested in a new phase of the ‘Arcos’ urban planning corruption case.
Martin Alba, and the former Assistant Chief of Architecture of Malaga Provincial Government, Jose Francisco Mora, were already arrested in February 2009 when the case was uncovered.
So far, some 60 people have been charged in the case, which revealed a corruption network which allowed the construction and legalization of houses built on non-urban land in the Axarquia area.
Guardia Civil have been searching the Land Registry Management headquarters in Malaga, and the Cadastre Management Unit of the Tax Board, as well as lawyer’s offices and private homes.
The aim is to find evidence of coercion, influence peddling, administrative and urban planning corruption, money laundering, document falsification, fraud and crimes against territorial planning.
Four members of the Cadastre Management Unit of the Tax Board, which is part of Malaga Provincial Government, are under investigation.
The conservative Partido Popular spokesman in Malaga Provincial Government, Francisco Salado, has announced that the Provincial Government will appear in the Arcos case to clear the name of the institution.
He said this has not yet been done “despite the former Socialist government announcing in 2010 that they would appear for the accusation”.
Martin Alba resigned as mayor of Alcaucin, a position he had held since 1991, in March 2009, just days after he was arrested, and was believed by the Guardia Civil to be the “main beneficiary of the corruption network”.
During a search of his home, the officer found a black box in a bag under his daughter’s mattress which contained envelopes with up to €151,000.
He was released with charges on €120,000 bail after spending three months in prison.
He ran in last year’s municipal elections with his own Independent Party and gained two seats in the local council.
By Jennifer Leighfield