Controversial Granada councils in spotlight… again

LAST UPDATED: 28 May, 2007 @ 19:46
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URBAN development in Spain is once again in the legal spotlight after further developments in the two high-profile building scandals to hit the Granada province in Andalucia.

First, the judge investigating alleged illegalities in the Parque Nevada shopping centre has ordered a check into the personal assets of the three figures at the centre of the judicial probe.
Meanwhile, two more members of the Alhendín town council have been charged by a Granada court with an alleged involvement in the illegal building scandal to hit the town.

Shopping centre probe

The magistrate leading the probe into Parque Nevada – the huge scale shopping centre believed to be built on green belt land on the outskirts of Granada city – has ordered the Guardia Civil check the assets of Armilla mayor José Antonio Morales Cara.

Judge Miguel Ángel del Arco may charge the leader of the town’s council with bribery if the probe reveals Morales Cara somehow personally benefited from the deal struck with General de Galerias Comerciales (GGC) – the company in charge of the construction of the mega project.

Señor del Arco has also given civil guards permission to look into the finances of the former head of Armilla’s town planning department Gabriel Cañavate and GGC owner Tomas Olivo, who is currently on bail after he was detained in July last year in connection with Operation Malaya – a crackdown on corruption in Marbella that has so far seen 94 arrests.
This is not the first time Cañavate has been at the centre of a financial investigation. The former town planning chief of Armilla quit his post in October last year over allegations of non-declaration of assets after he took up a position with the Junta de Andalucía regional government.

Four other Armilla councillors and an independent architect also face checks into their financial dealings.

Alleged Alhendín corruption

A further two members from the council in Alhendín have been implicated in Operation Marchelo – an investigation into building corruption in the town.
Deputy mayor Salvador Nogueras and councillor María Jose Garrido have been charged with deception. The pair will appear before judges in Santa Fe, Granada on April 20.

The two councillors join José Guerrero and Manuel Fernández, the former mayor and ex-town planning boss who both resigned from their positions earlier this year after being charged with bribery, fraud, deception and the illegal levying of taxes.

Guerrero and Fernández are also accused of selling municipal land far less than its market value.

The investigation relates to two huge scale building projects currently underway in the town: the Marchalhendín industrial park and the 1,400-home Novosur development alongside the Motril-Bailen N323 road.

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