A MAJOR human organ trafficking ring has been busted by police in Valencia, with five non-Spanish men arrested so far.
The gang allegedly offered large sums of money to migrants without papers in exchange for their organs, such as kidneys and livers. They then sold them to wealthy clients who underwent surgery at a private clinic in Valencia.
The selling and buying of human organs is illegal in Spain and all such procedures are managed by the National Transplant Organisation, which uses waiting lists.
The operation came to light after a 61-year-old Lebanese man tried to organise a liver transplant through the organisation. He apparently holds an important political position in Lebanon and had made contact with the group before traveling to Spain.
A number of people, mostly poor migrants, underwent tests that cost as much as €15,000 at the private clinic to check how compatible their organs were.
A match was found with one woman, who offered to donate part of her liver in exchange for €40,000. However, the Lebanese man changed his mind when he discovered the donor was female, worried that the transplant would contradict his Islamic beliefs.
He was later arrested in Madrid after traveling there for urgent medical examinations, having obtained a transplant through legal means after one of his children donated part of their liver.