Antonio Barrientos, ex-Estepona mayor

ALMOST 100 politicians and business leaders have been fingered in an Estepona corruption scandal.

The Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office has accused 51 people, including former PSOE mayor Antonio Barrientos, of being involved in the so-called Astapa corruption case.

It is seeking a 10-year sentence each for Barrientos, his chief of staff Jose Flores and former economy minister for the town Francisco Zamorano.

It is also seeking damages of €28 million, which is how much public money is believed to have been squandered, and has requested the sacking of a further 39 who still work at the town hall.

It comes after a ten-year probe into the case ended in May last year, when an Estepona court agreed to open proceedings against 95 people – although one has died and four have launched appeals.

In a 162-page indictment, produced last weekend, prosecutors allege the town hall had a backhander system that would see officials rewarded with gifts and kickbacks – mostly from real estate companies – in return for awarding contracts mostly in urban development.

The gifts included plasma TVs, trips, luxury watches, drinks at brothels and wire transfers either directly to officials or their family members.

Former mayor Barrientos, who has always maintained his innocence, is accused of bribery, influence peddling, money laundering and more.

Astapa was first uncovered on June 17 2008 as a result of a complaint filed by Socialist councilors David Valadez and Cristina Rodríguez.

Barrientos demanded that his right to the presumption of innocence be respected. “I am convinced that I will not disappoint all those who know me and have trusted in my performance,” he said.

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