Two Spanish mayors resign over corruption probe

9th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Mayors of Arganda del Rey and Pozuelo de Alarcon, suspected of receiving over EUR 1 million together, maintain their innocence but will stay away from politics until the probe is through.

MADRID – A graft scandal affecting Spain's main opposition party deepened Friday as two mayors from the Madrid region resigned over allegations of involvement.

The mayors of Arganda del Rey and Pozuelo de Alarcon, Gines Lopez and Jesus Sepulveda, said they were innocent but were stepping down and temporarily retiring from the conservative Popular Party until the probe was through.

The resignations came after top judge Baltasar Garzon said the two were suspected of having received EUR 523,427 and EUR 422,000 respectively in payments from a communications company.

Garzon had initially said Lopez was suspected of receiving EUR 1.3 million but reduced the amount on Friday.

The judge has been looking into suspicions that PP politicians in Madrid and the Valencia region received backhanders from entrepreneurs for awarding public works contracts since early February.

Among those also suspected of involvement is the president of the regional government of Valencia, Francisco Camps who is close to PP leader Mariano Rajoy.

According to Garzon, Camps may have received suits worth several thousands of euros from firms that worked for the Valencia regional government and the regional branch of the PP.

Garzon, who is famous internationally for his pursuit of Latin American dictators, on Thursday transferred the investigation to regional courts in Madrid and Valencia.

As a judge with the National Audience, Spain's highest criminal court, he ruled that he was not competent to elected officials.

PP leaders have denied the allegations and say the probe is politically motivated.

AFP / Expatica

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