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Spain police arrest 14 in high-speed rail corruption probe

Spanish police arrested 14 people on Tuesday suspected of overbilling state rail company Adif by over 82 million euros for works to build a high-speed rail link between Madrid and Barcelona, prosecutors said.

As part of the operation police searched the headquarters of private and public firms in the two cities that took part in the construction of a railway station in Barcelona for the link.

The 14 people arrested “were employees who played a significant role in the certification and execution of the works under investigation,” anti-corruption prosecutors said in a statement.

The probe was opened following a complaint from debt-ridden Adif, the state track operator, which estimates it was overbilled by over 82 million euros ($90 million) for the project by subcontractors, the statement added.

Police in 2014 arrested a dozen people as part of another probe into the suspected overbilling of around six million euros for works to build another stretch of the same high-speed railway line.

Spain has spent billions of euros to build the second-biggest high-speed network in the world after China’s.