Investigation launched into Spain’s ‘biggest ever’ fraud case

LAST UPDATED: 18 Apr, 2014 @ 16:37
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Investigation launched into Spain’s ‘biggest ever’ fraud case

SPANISH police are investigating what could be the country’s biggest ever fraud case, involving officials in Andalucia syphoning off EU funds worth up to €2 billion.

The secret police investigation is still in its infancy after anti-corruption detectives are reported to have discovered the embezzlement of money destined for retraining schemes for the unemployed.

‘Operation Edu’ has not yet been registered with an investigating judge.

It is alleged that regional governments, trade union leaders and employer’s associations teamed up to receive EU and government grants for re-training sessions that never occurred.

So far, over 200 people have been interviewed in Malaga province, although the investigation will expand to cover the whole of Andalucia in the coming months.

As well as a shortfall between the amount of funds provided and the amount distributed by regional authorities, there are cases of companies being given education grants and then folding before any schemes took place.

Andalucia received €2.3 billion from the European social fund between 2007 and 2013, plus another €710 million from the Spanish central government.

It is believed as much as €2 billion could have disappeared in shortfalls and commissions.

22 COMMENTS

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  1. Not to much of a surprise really as the power brokers in the province of Andalucía have previous for the disappearance of funds. Cannot understand why the citizens keep voting in the same corrupt people that have bankrupted the province.

  2. Amazing amount of corrution in this country, it just goes to show why Spain is literally falling apart at the seams – they have literally embezzled billions of euros in EU funds. Why Spain is allowed to exist within the EU when it does this over and over again beggars belief. This could make the ERE scandal look like loose change.

  3. Will anyone actually be stupid enough to vote for these despots after all this? How much more money has to go “missing” and how many more homes have to be demolished before they get a boot up the backside? PSOE have been in power for 30 years in Andalucia but they have failed their people miserably and achieved absolutely nothing. The place is falling apart.

  4. Same old story, the Andalucian Junta rob their fellow citizens of a vast fortune sent by the rest of Europe to help the less fortunate – but they are quite happy to knock down family homes for no legal reason.
    They are basically crooks and use the powers of demolition to keep the population under their control, much like a thief would use a gun.

  5. Spain has been one of the biggest reciprients of EU money
    They had so much money they didnt know what to do with it
    in Andulacia the people deciding how to spend the money were generally from poor rural backgrounds /there was no proper record keeping or beaurocracy in place
    There was no decision making process reason so much wasted on roads with no traffic airports even railways without sufficient passenger numbers to make routes viable
    The culture is Spain is also you look after yourself your family so thats what people did /but the EU does not seem to have checked how the money was being spent well now they know

  6. rob: I am not sure what you are trying to say but at best it sounds like a very weak cop out and at worst it sounds like you are an apologist for them, both of which are totally unacceptable. If these people are that thick, they have no right to be running the place do they?

    It doesn’t take a genious to work out that any entity that is vile enough to illegally demolish houses belonging to innocent people is going to be guilty of other crimes as well. They were not likely to demolish the Priors’ house, leave them living in a garage for six years with no electricity and yet be squeaky clean in other areas.

    So why are they still in power? What do they have to do to get thrown out? Demolish a house while someone is still inside it perhaps. I say it’s time to demolish the Junta de Andalucia. Call a regional election now.

  7. Just how much more EU money needs to disappear before the EUC takes real action against Spain? I’m not talking about them fining Spain yet again as past history shows that Spain is literally laughing all the way to the bank. I’m talking about imposing real sanctions, ones that are effective, i.e. the EUC stop making payments to Spain until they act in the manner that is expected of them, one which was clearly laid out before they joined the EU.
    Let’s face it, stoping payments will not affect the general population that much as this story shows that they are not getting what is being paid by the EU anyay.

  8. I’d be very wary of taking everything one hears as gospel. Sounds to me very much like muck slinging from interested parties. How can the figure of 2000 million euros be bandied about if it has not even been registered yet with an investigating judge, and the investigations are at its infancy? Shouldn’t we wait to hear what the Andalucian PSOE/IU government have to say about all this?

  9. @ Jane….I think it’s an almost certainty…The culture is so embedded with sobornos, enchufes and dinero negro that the thought of change would send most Andaluces into an apoplectic fit.

    And with the circus still open with the Bárcenas case, any hint of persuasion to vote for the P.P instead would simply provoke a shrug of the shoulders accompanied by “todos son iguales”.

  10. I think that the apparent ease which the Authorities whomever they are, continue to get away with such blatant disregard for their fellow countrymen and expats alike is simply one of fear. Franco may be dead and buried, but the atrocities committed by his regime are still very much alive in the Spanish psyche. They are simply a nation that was until relatively recently ruled by a Dictator, many of whose ideologies and organisations are still in place today. Its not simply a case of being poor or uneducated, unfortunately the masses still think and act like people who are “institutionalised”, unable to voice their own opinions for fear of reprisal in some form or another. The last 2 generations know all too well how it was to live under Franco’s regime. Old habits die hard.

  11. That’s Communism for you. For all those people who are going to vote for this bunch of cretins at the next regional elections, the message is simple. You will definitely get what you deserve and more. Not much hope really is there.

  12. Communism? You must be one of those who wants Spain under the one single party, PP preferably, with no dissenting voices anywhere. Now that would be a back to the future solution and Madrid could carry on creaming the top and Andalucía being handed the residue left in the bottle and used as the playground for the top boys.

  13. I don’t think any particular ‘ism’ is involved – we just need to think thieves and possibly the mafia. The latter know exactly how to secrete vast sums of money.
    What is needed is an EU commission set up, totally independent of Spain, with powers to investigate Spanish/Andalucian affairs involving EU funds. With wide ranging powers to recoup the money back into EU coffers.

  14. It ain’t Cricket, most people are so utterly sick of the barking mad Junta de Andalucia, who have been in power for over 30 years and achieved nothing, they would vote for the Monster Raving Loony Party (oops, sorry, already got them) if it meant getting rid of them. One thing’s for sure, the current administration ain’t cricket and Andalucia desperately needs a change of government before it goes into complete meltdown.

    How you can defend this lot is beyond me, they don’t deserve it and they probably wouldn’t give you the time of day. If anyone is guilty of creaming off the top for themselves and giving over the residue to the “little people” it’s the Junta. They are banged to rights and god knows what else the EU will uncover during their investigation.

    Too bad the Junta didn’t “cream off” some of the money and pay the Priors and the Brooks some compensation for demolishing their houses.

  15. @Antonio2….Remember the fiasco at the Gib border when the “fact finders” were sent to investigate the queues?…Central government orchestrated the event (having been previously notified of the date) in such a way as to suggest “What’s the problem?”…..This will take years to resolve by which time the culpable will have joined Lord Lucan.

  16. If there is any doubt why regional and national politicians & staff feel “immune” to prosecution for their acts, Roy Wickman (if correct) explains it in the Costa del Sol News, April 17th, page 13 as he describes their status as “Aforados”. Under Spanish Law, there are some 10,000 Aforados that are IMMUNE to prosecution for their actions while in Office except by being tried in Spain’s Supreme Court. And that happens to be close to the Government itself. In any case, you’d die of old age before a Judgement/Appeal is reached! And even IF brought before this Court, under Spain’s Constitution, they do NOT have to admit guilt by incriminating themselves. So this “Aforado’ privilege is granted to all regional and national officials down to the level of Ombudsman & their Deputies. Now in Spain, all 2nd Deputies of all the 17 Regional Ombudsmen have more protection from the Courts than the PRESIDENT of the USA, PM of BRITAIN and CHANCELLOR OF Germany in their own countries. BUT the Spanish government announced last week they WILL try to change the list of Aforados – not reduce it, but ADD the names of Queen Sofia and Prince Felipe (no Cristina & Inigo?) ALL equal under the Law.

  17. Seems typical – “Operation Edu’ has not yet been registered with an investigating judge. Estimated fraud to be about “€2.3 billion from the European social fund between 2007 and 2013, plus another €710 million from the Spanish central government.” well it’s only taxpayers’ $$.

  18. Jane, I am not defending anyone. The whole place needs a shake up. Apparently the “denuncia” or whatever it’s called has come from the Ministry of the Interior PP/Central Govt., and if you read the other side of the story, you may come to ask yourself why now? You say Andalucía desperately needs a change of Government before it goes into complete meltdown – any suggestions? What about a change in the Central Government if reports on other more advanced cases are to be taken into account? Considering “everyone” guilty before a judgement or even arrests having been made is not my idea of fairness. Having a one party state, in my mind, is not the answer either, neither is creating hype just before elections when all sorts of presumptions can be bandied about and headlines created without any legally proven base. As always, just my thoughts. I’d much prefer to be presented with both sides of any story before making any rash judgements one might regret later.

  19. It baffles me why the European committee dishes out these amounts without monitoring the process, perhaps too busy sitting around a very large table in a very large room dreaming up their next P.C. rule and bringing all the European countries together so we can all live happily ever after…we are just touching an iceberg having a meltdown…

  20. @Linda, the EU has not been properly audited for over two decades. Mr Van Rompuy ordered his officials to play down this fact, and recall too that they sacked the previous auditor when she raised concerns. I would hazard a guess that corruption is rife in the EU too and that multiple parties are benefitting from this. What better place to conduct corruption than in a place with no proper auditing?

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