Police believe the developer wanted to “buy support”
A HOUSING DEVELOPER at the centre of the investigation into Marbella council corruption offered gifts worth more than 60,000 euros to politicians and judges.
According to a police report, Aifos wanted to “create favourable conditions in municipalities in which the company had interests.”
Among the gifts, which were also offered to mayors, town planning officers and architects, were 600-euro handbags and overnight stays at a luxury hotel in Marbella.
The company, which recorded profits of 288 million euros in 2006, saw four of its directors arrested last year during the crackdown on council corruption in the Costa del Sol resort.
According to one, Aifos paid Marbella town hall four million euros to obtain favourable council decisions.
The report claims the behaviour of the development company, which has offices in the UK and Germany, is “morally reproachable.”
However, the Olive Press understands the company was breaking no laws in offering the gifts at Christmas 2004.
The police report, which was published earlier this month, does not indicate if the intended beneficiary accepted the gift or not.
Hams and hotels
According to police, the council that witnessed the greatest offer of gifts was Marbella, the town at the centre of the Malaya investigation into urban and council corruption that has seen 102 arrests.
Marisol Yagüe, the former town mayor who was detained during the initial wave of arrests in March 2006, was offered a Loewe handbag worth 630 euros.
Former town planning chief Juan Antonio Roca, who allegedly charged housing developers for building licenses before laundering the money, was offered a 300-euro hamper, containing bottles of Moet champagne and high-quality meat products.
Other Marbella councillors were also offered gifts by the Málaga company.
Raquel Escobar, who worked in the same department as Roca, was offered a Tous suitcase, worth 239 euros while Yagüe’s former secretary was offered a 72-euro purse.
Councillors and council workers in nearby Mijas were also offered gifts.
Municipal architect Ana Mesa received a 200-euro leg of ham and a stay in the Aifos-owned Guadalpin hotel in Marbella.
In Estepona, the report shows PSOE mayor Antonio Barrientos was also offered a stay in the five-star hotel.
Barrientos said he refused the offer directly as did regional government worker Ana Gómez. “I was offered a Loewe handbag which I immediately turned down. I never accept gifts offered to me through my position,” she said.
The report also claims Aifos offered gifts to members of Spain’s judiciary, including Joaquín García, a member of Andalucía’s Supreme Court, and magistrate Bernaldo de Quirós.
Both said they turned down the offer of a stay at the Guadalpín hotel.
A spokesman for the developer denied the gifts were to influence decisions. “We did not look to buy people. The gifts were intended for people with whom we have a close working relationship,” he said.
Four boardroom members of Aifos were arrested during the second phase of Malaya arrests in June last year. Director Francisco García Lebrón admitted to investigating judge Miguel Angel Torres his company had paid Juan Antonio Roca – the supposed mastermind behind the network of corruption in Marbella – more than four million euros to obtain favourable council decisions.
Also arrested along with García Lebrón was director general Jenaro Briales Navarrete, Aifos chief Jesús Ruiz Casado, and financial manager José Andrés León.
In a separate incidence, Ruiz Casado is being investigated for tax fraud.