The former mayor of Estepona Antonio Barrientosaccused in the ‘Astapa’ case on the alleged political and urban corruption in that town, continues to defend his innocence and his actions at all times “within the law”; in addition to ensuring that “he has never enriched himself or obtained any benefit, either direct or indirect”, outside of the remuneration of his position as alderman.
That’s how it ensures through his lawyers in his defense briefto which Europa Press has had access, in which the opposition to the prosecutor’s accusation is shown and it is emphasized that the existing police and Tax Agency reports are “riddled with errors” for which he challenges them “due to the lack of impartiality and support”. He advances that he will expose the annulments that in his opinion are in the procedure as a preliminary matter of the trial.
The Court of First Instance and Instruction number 1 of Estepona opened an oral trial against 50 defendants in this case, including Barrientos, for the crimes of falsehood, fraud, embezzlement, bribery, prevarication and influence peddling, for which the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor requests a sentence of ten years and nine months in prison, a fine and disqualification from public employment for a period of 38 years.
What’s more, Five other former municipal officials are accused, then members of the PSOE and the PES; as well as businessmen and officials. In this case, it is accused of having “a ‘Box B’ with contributions from developers with real estate interests”, through donations or sponsorship of activities, and alleged irregularities in the urban agreements for “benefit certain entrepreneurs”.
Getting to the bottom of it, the defense insists that Barrientos carried out his duties as mayor “within the strictest legality and following the opinions issued by the authorized officials of a national nature of the Consistory and by the municipal technicians and jurists in their reports, both in the mandatory ones and in those that were requested of them”.
Except on one occasion, “when there was a objection by the Municipal Treasury, on which Barrientos immediately adopted the pertinent measures, none of the actions investigated in this case were subject to censorship or warning by the City Council bodies in charge of legality control, “says the former mayor’s defense.
Also, it points out that “there was never a box B in Estepona Town Hall, at least during the temporary periods in which my client was in charge of the Mayor’s Office”, indicating that in the processing of urban planning agreements “additional measures of transparency and control were even adopted to those legally required”, always being all the action in this area within “absolute legality”.
It does state that it took steps to get different companies linked to Estepona “defray activities or entities of a cultural nature, social or charitable (the vast majority); all non-profit and whose recipients were entities and associations”; an action that the defense understands “far from criminal” and that “they have always resulted in the exclusive benefit of the local Corporation and its inhabitants.”
Moreover, adds the letter, the then alderman filed up to seven complaints with the Prosecutor’s Office of Malaga when he had suspicions of certain actions that could be irregular; and all urban planning agreements, “of any kind, of his mandate, those investigated in this procedure and those that were not, were sent to the Chamber of Accounts of the Junta de Andalucía” for inspection. In addition, he says, they received the vote in favor of the municipal commission.
Regarding the planning agreements in particular, the defense explains that economic contributions were agreed between the parties, “having entered in full what was stipulated in the municipal coffers.” In addition, it specifies that, “since there is no legal obligation to pay any amount for the signing of such agreements, there can be no reference percentage, as erroneously indicated in some reports”.
“It was about extraordinary capital gains”, Barrientos’ lawyers insist, pointing out that “no damage has been caused to the public coffers through the signing of these planning agreements and –on the contrary– extraordinary capital gains were obtained for the Consistory, in addition to those legally required” .
Capital gains of more than 60 million euros
In this sense, figures these capital gains at “more than 60 million euros”, that “they were deposited in the municipal coffers,” the letter reiterates, noting that “there is no legal basis” to consider that the payment of a specific percentage should have been demanded, which this party supports in reports issued by different municipal experts and certifications.
Regarding the exploitation agreements, it is indicated that it was decided “by the thesis of the municipal comptroller” to use “the residual method, thus obtaining benefits greater than those that would have resulted from the application of the legally established method, the one based on the Presentation of cadastral values”. “It was, strictly speaking, a political decision to benefit the local Corporation,” says the defense brief.
For this part, in view of the different reports, “it is evident that nor has the public coffers been caused any damage in relation to these monetization agreements”, but there was, he says, “remarkably higher income for the Administration”. On the other hand, he rejects the abandonment of functions in the sanctioning sphere, indicating that although he was delegated to another mayor, “he gave instructions to that the files be processed and not prescribed”.
Also, it is pointed out that “none of the performances carried out by Mr. Barrientos during his administration has meant some kind of personal enrichment,” asserting that the evolution of his patrimony “corresponds to the income received for the correct exercise of his functions and with the economic aid received from his mother”, which he considers accredited with the documentation provided.
“He has never received any gift or reward of any kind,” the defense insists, pointing out that the origin of the money is “fully justified” and the trips he has made, meals and events he has attended “have always been linked to the performance of his duties as mayor and his work promoting the town from Estepona.