Former Spanish cabinet minister faces corruption probe

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Spain's Supreme Court has opened a probe into former transport minister Jose Blanco for alleged bribery and influence peddling, a court spokesman said Wednesday.

The case stems from a corruption scandal in Blanco's native province of Lugo in the northwestern region of Galicia which has led to the arrest of 15 people.

One of the detained suspects, pharmaceuticals businessman Jorge Dorribo, has accused Blanco of securing favours from government ministries in exchange for money.

"The Supreme Court has agreed today to investigate Jose Blanco for alleged bribery and influence peddling," the court spokesman said.

Blanco, who was the spokesman for the previous Socialist government of prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as well as transport minister, has denied any wrongdoing.

Last month he said he would not seek the leadership of the Socialists when the party gathers in February to set a new course in the wake of its crushing defeat by the conservative Popular Party in a November 20 general election.

© 2011 AFP

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