Real-estate investigation unit opens 100 graft probes

20th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

20 November 2007, Madrid - Six months after special police units were set up to fight corruption in the real-estate sector, the Civil Guard disclosed this week that it has opened more than 100 investigations, arrested 57 people and charged 126 others for crimes ranging from bribery to embezzlement.

20 November 2007

Madrid - Six months after special police units were set up to fight corruption in the real-estate sector, the Civil Guard disclosed this week that it has opened more than 100 investigations, arrested 57 people and charged 126 others for crimes ranging from bribery to embezzlement.

The number of investigations, 80 of which remain open and 26 of which have been closed, is a sign not just of the effectiveness of the units but also of the scale of the corruption that has infiltrated the real-estate market during a 10-year property boom.

Andalusia, followed by the Balearic Islands and Madrid, are the regions where the most cases of corruption have been detected.

The most common culprits are public officials who accept backhanders from construction companies in order to push through building permits. Evidence has also been found of local officials breaking zoning laws in order to line their own pockets.

The Civil Guard units, with more than 200 officers, have also set about creating a registry of all illegally built properties  across the country.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ JORGE A. RODRÍGUEZ 2007]

Subject: Spanish news


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