Ibiza Corruption – public prosecutor searches town hall in Sant Josep

October 7th, 2008 - 5:09 pm Posted in ibiza news, san jose | Comments (0)

Visitors and civil servants at Sant Josep’s town hall were amazed on the morning of October 6th to see several dozen police and judicial officers storming the building in the village centre. Armed with a search warrant from Ibiza’s local court they confiscated countless numbers of documents and computer hard drives during an action that lasted several hours.

In a parallel action, colleagues from the Balearic Islands prosecutor’s office special corruption unit, who all came to Ibiza especially for the action, also searched the offices of the former municipal architect for Sant Josep, Antonio Huerta Briz on Paseo Joan Carles I. in Ibiza town. It appeared to be the first public action in Operacion Pitiusa.

Along with the leader of the alleged wheeling and dealing around the municipal administration, they also have their sights set on the wife of the former municipal architect, Rosario Chamorra, the son of the two, Antonio Huerta Chamorro and his wife Pilar Fernandez. The list of the putative crimes of the Huerta clan is long.

san jose councilThe prosecutors are accusing Antonio Huerta Briz of the misappropriation of public funds, document forging, accepting bribes, fraud, money laundering and gross violations of building regulations. Rosario Chamorro is being investigated for alleged money laundering offences.

The special corruption unit prosecutors have apparently collected evidence over the past three years that point to Briz having abused his position as municipal architect for private gain. Briz, who under the former PP reign between 1998 and 2007 authorised any and all construction permit applications within the Sant Josep municipality, owns an architectural company and a variety of construction companies.

Antonio Huerta Briz and his wife Rosario Chamorro were arrested at Ibiza’s airport one day after the search of the premises as they returned from holidays. While the court denied the defence lawyers’ request for release on bail for the former municipal architect, his wife and their son and his wife, who were arrested the day before, were all released on bail. The trial will probably not be happening any time soon.

According to statements made by the public prosecutor, Antoni Torres, it will take “…many months before we can analyse the seized documents and hard drives.” The detective work also included access to countless numbers of bank transactions over the past ten years totalling around 12 million euros. Antoni Torres could not rule out the fact that more people might end up in the dock during this corruption investigation. One week after the spectacular search action Torres stated, “What we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.”

In front of the magistrate in Eivissa, Antonio Huerta Briz denied all of the accusations levelled against him. The remaining Huerta clan – who are free after posting bail totalling 360.000 euros – also denied all of the charges raised by the prosecution. However, the evidence gathered against them may prove to be damning over the course of the trial for Antonio Huerta Briz and his family.

Among other things the court has videotape that supposedly shows Huerta abusing his position as municipal architect for private gain. Ironically enough, the tape came from the Balearic Islands Architect’s Association. They hired a private detective to investigate In 2006, as suspicions of the illegal dealings of the Huerta clan grew stronger.

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