Residents paying for mayor’s defense

LAST UPDATED: 4 Nov, 2010 @ 17:16
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Residents paying for mayor’s defense

THE mayor of Alhaurin el Grande, who is facing charges of bribery and corruption, can use taxpayers’ money to cover his legal costs.

Juan Martín Seron, who is embroiled in the Troya scandal for allegedly taking bribes of up to 150,000 euros from 14 businessmen in exchange for favourable building licences, faces four and half years in prison .

But now it has emerged the Partido Popular has used its overall majority in the Town Hall to vote for his legal costs to be paid by municipal funds in advance, before the courts decide if he is guilty or not.

The Town Planning Councillor, Gergorio Guerra, who faces a seven year prison sentence in the Troya case can also use the Town Hall funds.

But the PSOE argue this violates the law, which was not designed for ‘advanced compensation’, and they have said they will appeal against the decision.

Cristóbal Bonilla, local PSOE secretary general said: “The law provides that municipalities pay to defend members of the municipal corporation once they are acquitted, but not before.

“Now the mayor can hire who he pleases and spend what he wants on his defense because all Alhaurín will arrange for the payment in advance.”

In addition the opposition party warns that should a guilty verdict be found, although the law states they will have to pay the money back, many of those charged will not be in a position to do so.

But the Mayor has justified the reform saying it is ‘absolutely legal’ and has the backing of both the secretary and the deputy secretary of the City Council and municipal legal services.

And he denounced the Socialists for their continuous complaints.

He said: “What they can not win at the polls they want to win with lies and falsehoods in the courts.”

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