News Articles

11/01/2010 - Jailed mayor recieved nearly 1M euro's

'The mastermind behind the Llíber case, The builder Miguel Muntaner, told the Dénia judge that he had paid the former mayor, Jose Mas, of the PP, 3,000 euros for each license "which would be looked upon favourably' and which resulted in the construction of illegal houses on rural land . During his tenure at City Hall between 1999 and 2003, Mas granted building licences to build 300 of those houses (for which he received 900,000 euros) in a plot which has lead to his remaining in jail since December in the company of former municipal surveyor, Amadeo Signes, who also charged up to € 25,000 for the technical reports for these buildings. Muntaner is now on bail after paying bail of 100,000 euros.
So far 16 people are charged in the case, including several builders who in a similar manner had offered bribes to the Mayor and municipal Technician, according to Muntaner. The builder said in his statement that he once paid another 10,000 euros to the former mayor for the permit for a power line for a house situated on non-urbanisable land, and that, together with other promoters, he funded another property for Mas' son but, in this case, on urbanisable land.
Muntaner's contribution towards the brand new housing would have amounted to 20,000 euros, which served to cover the cost of the windows and floor.
According to the summary of the case, Muntaner not only paid cash to the former mayor but also gave him a car. The builder testified before the Civil Guard that "On the way back from a trip to the Ministry, he [José Mas] told me that he had always wanted to own a Mercedes and a month later he had a white diesel Mercedes. The car had been bought at a German dealership at a price of 8,000 euros and had been given over to the former mayor of Benidorm.
In the plot, according to Muntaner, a key role was played by the former municipal surveyor, Amadeo Signes. The builder said that he had told the mayor, "everything had to be done through him, if not, he would not issue a favourable report." Muntaner related that the amount of gifts demanded by Signes rose to 25,000 euros. The builder explained that if at the beginning of the plot, around the year 2000, the former official charged between "200,000 and 300,000 pesetas (between 1,200 and 1,800 euros) to each of the builders involved, and then received 25,000 euros for the previous favourable technical reports that he made out for the illegal houses.
The builder said that for promotions in Llíber he paid Signes a total of 100,000 euros for 15 licenses. The payments were made without receipts and in cash and, according to Muntaner, they also had the approval of the municipal secretary charged in the case. In his remarks, Muntaner admits to having colluded with the accused to fake Escrituras, one of which included the name of a deceased in order to avoid paying taxes.
The former mayor and former surveyor has submitted two applications to get out of jail on bail, citing his advanced years, and that they are well-known in the district and that there is no risk of their fleeing, but the judge in Denia rejected their petitions, on which the Court in Alicante, to which defendants have appealed, must now decide .
The investigation team have also tried to locate an English partner of Muntaner's who current location they are unable to ascertain at present and whose testimony in a court in Valencia, following a complaint from one of the affected property owners, opened up the case. One  British partner has already admitted to the existence of 90 buildings in Llíber, of which he had participated in about 30, while the rest were executed by other developers involved in the plot, including Muntaner's. Most of the defrauded in the case were British.
For the main players in the plot, the instructor of the case has opened proceedings for alleged crimes of fraud, bribery, prevarication and management against the territory. Also  involved  are the other five councilors who composed that council, including the current mayor, Juan Bautista Reus, a socialist. However, sources in the case claimed that the main responsibilities must be taken by former Mayor Joseph Mas, since he did not fully delegate at any time the competition for planning permission. Mas is already facing an earlier case for allowing the illegal construction of 24 homes.


Source Arturo Ruiz El Pais

Translation by L Dennis -Thanks!