Fourteen and a half years after the Astapa case against political-urban corruption in Estepona, the investigator of the case has given a period of sixty calendar days to the lawyers to present the defense briefs.
Three years have passed since the order to open the oral trial was issued, one of the defense lawyers of the case, José Carlos Aguilera, has highlighted to Efe, who has denounced that “At this rate, years will pass until the trial begins in the Provincial Court of Malaga”.
“Astapa it will be the longest case of our criminal process and where the undue delays are the largest in history, “Aguilera stressed.
The prosecutor presented his indictment on June 27, 2018 and has requested ten years and nine months in prison and thirty-eight years of disqualification for the former socialist mayor of Estepona Antonio Barrientos.
Barrientos is accused of Continued crimes of falsehood, fraud, embezzlement, bribery, prevarication and influence peddlingAccording to the provisional brief, which accuses 51 people, among which are former councilors, businessmen and municipal employees, and the dismissal of 39 is requested.
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 Force, a letter accompanied by abundant documentation in which they denounced that in the surroundings of the Estepona City Council they could be committing related crimes with corruption.
In the prosecutor’s accusatory brief, which consists of 162 pages, it is explained 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 Estepona Town Hall in order to increase public spending, which was unaffordable with the budgetary resources of the municipality.
The prosecutor maintains that said box B was nourished by economic contributions from promoters and entrepreneurs with real estate interests, “which naturally were not obliged to bear any payment imposed on them by means of pressure or through practices of diversion of power sponsored by local governments.”
Such contributions resulted in direct donations to the City Council, in sponsorships of sports and cultural activities, and also in the assumption as own expenses of the companies of certain debts that the councils or municipal companies had with their suppliers, which frequently led to manipulations in the object of the corresponding invoices or the issuance of other fallacious documents.
Required entrepreneurs used to accept these pressures so as not to harm business opportunities and in the following years an irregular practice was normalized that subordinated any relevant initiative or measure in urban matters.