By Humphrey Carter
THE UK'S liaison Magistrate in Spain, Aled Williams, was in Palma yesterday on the hunt for assets belonging to a major British drugs dealer who has recently been arrested and to shore up the very close working relationship enjoyed between the British and Spanish judiciary. Williams met the Balearic's top judge Bartolome Barcelo yesterday morning to arrange for Balearic assets alleged to belong to the detained “re-nowned” British drugs dealer to be seized. This is by no means the first time Williams has had dealings with Barcelo and the Balearic judiciary. Fluent in Spanish, Williams explained that Barcelo has been crucial in improving the level of judicial co-operation between Spain and Britain and at an international level in general. Williams explained that the close working relationship has led to a great deal of success in two fields in particular, organised crime including drugs dealing and trafficking as well as the war against terrorism. “Because of the obvious shared interests, the relationship between the Spanish and British judiciary when it comes to dealing with the issue of terrorism is very close. We have a very high level of co-operation and, because terrorism is the most important issue, we are in contact on a daily basis,” Williams said yesterday. He also said that the investigations into last summer's London bombings are on-going and that the date for the first court hearing into the terrorist attacks is not very far away. “With regards to the July 7 bombings the investigation is continuing but to a certain point, the principal suspects, the suicide bombers are dead, but we hope that the first of those involved with and connected to both the July 7 bombings and the July 21 failed attempts will appear in court shortly.” Asked whether he was aware that a wanted and known Islamic militant was arrested recently in the Balearics and that a number of suspect Arab terrorists have passed through the islands, Williams said that he is well aware that all of the Spanish authorities are very closely involved in fighting terrorism. He added that the British authorities are keeping a very close eye on all the developments in Spain as part of the global war on terrorism - just as the Spanish are in regular contact with the UK. However, he would not be drawn on whether there was any direct link between the March 11 bombings in Madrid in 2004 and last summer's attacks on the centre of London.
WATCHING
Nor would he reveal just how closely the British authorities are watching the British communities in the Balearics and across Spain. “Obviously, where there are large British communities, there will often be a few people who are unfortunately wanted by the authorities,” he said. “But I would not like people to get the wrong impression,” he added. “The situation is by far an extreme one.”

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