Spanish police investigate corruption scandal - 25 detained
Mayor and 24 others detained after being suspected of accepting bribes...
18 June 2008
SPAIN - Spanish police Wednesday ended a 14-hour search of the city hall of Estepona on the southern Costa del Sol where the mayor and 24 other people have been detained on corruption charges.
The people arrested Tuesday included current and former city councillors, municipal officials, entrepreneurs and lawyers.
City authorities were suspected of accepting bribes in exchange for allowing irregularities in housing projects. The charges against the detainees also included money-laundering.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist Party immediately expelled mayor Antonio Barrientos from its ranks.
Barrientos was the ninth Spanish mayor detained while in office since the spring of 2006, when a major corruption scandal broke in the Costa del Sol resort of Marbella, where the entire city council was dissolved and replaced.
The government has introduced anti-corruption measures such as obliging mayors and councillors to make their property public, but the measures have not been applied because of a legislative gap, the daily El Pais reported.