Malaga, (EFE) January 2023 with previous questions.
The trial has been divided into ten blocks, as was done with the Malaya case, on corruption in the Marbella Town Hall. Formula that helped speed up this macro-process in which, due to the high number of defendants and parties involved in the procedure, the development of the oral hearing is complicated.
The trial began on January 9 with the preliminary issues, after which the Chamber annulled the wiretaps.
On March 7, the trial by blocks began. And it began with the section on the alleged irregularities in urban matters between 2003 and 2008 when the defendant, the socialist Antonio Barrientos, was mayor. That he faces ten years and nine months in prison and 38 years of disqualification.
One of the most anticipated blocks is the eighth, where the alleged financing of political parties will be discussed. And according to the ruling, to which EFE has had access, this is expected to happen as of July 6 of this year.
Prosecutor’s experts in 2024
We will have to wait until the end of May 2024 for the experts from the prosecutor and the parties involved in the procedure. Therefore, until at least June of that same year, the definitive conclusions and reports will not be able to be drawn up.
This macro-process has always had many similarities with the Malaya case, but perhaps due to its complexity and the number of defendants it even exceeded 199 sessions after twenty-two months of hearing that the Marbella operation required. Which was the largest known corruption plot in a town hall in the history of Spain.
Another controversy that has haunted the Astapa case has been that it has taken fifteen years since the procedure was opened to face the trial. And there are many defense attorneys who describe it as “the longest cause of our criminal proceedings. And where the undue delays are the largest in history”, lawyer José Carlos Aguilera stressed to EFE.
In the dock of the accused, in addition to the former mayor, there are almost 50 other people sitting (among whom are former councilors, businessmen and municipal employees). And two of them, who were members of the Estepona Party (PES), have admitted in a letter some of the facts. And they have presented a written agreement agreed with the Prosecutor’s Office, which means accepting a sentence of more than two years in prison.
The investigation began in November 2006 when two socialist councilors presented in Madrid, before the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the National Police Corps, a letter accompanied by abundant documentation in which they denounced that in the vicinity of the City Council of In Estepona, crimes related to corruption could be committed.
Plot between 2003 and 2007
The prosecutor maintains that between 2003 and the first half of 2007 the coalition government formed by the PSOE and the Estepona Party (PES) created a box B in the City Hall in order to increase public spending. That it was unaffordable with the budgetary resources of the municipality.
The public ministry maintains that said box B was nourished by economic contributions from promoters and businessmen with real estate interests. “That naturally they were not obliged to bear any payment that was imposed on them by means of pressure or through practices of misuse of power sponsored by local rulers.”
These contributions translated into direct donations to the City Council, sponsorship of sports and cultural activities and the assumption as own expenses of the companies of certain debts that the councils or municipal companies maintained with their suppliers. EFE