STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THREE more people were arrested at lunchtime yesterday in connection with a corruption scandal alleged to have its roots in the Balearic government's Youth Tourism department during the term of office of the previous Partido Popular administration.

Police sources said that the identities of the detainees have not been confirmed, and neither was it certain whether they remained in custody or whether they had been given a conditional discharge.

The three new arrests add to the seven already made earlier this week, three of whom are still being held by the National Police in Palma.
Juan Francisco Galvez of the Partido Popular who was director of the government Youth department at the time of the alleged corruption case, decided to use his right not to make a declaration when he was taken yesterday to the National Police station. According to Prosecution sources, the director was asked twice to state his case on the issue of the corruption investigation, as was his associate Damia Amengual - also of the Partido Popular. Both took the option of remaining silent.

Galvez arrived at the police station in Palma yesterday morning in the company of his lawyer, Bartomeu Vidal who is also representing Amengual. The men were questioned by police authorities for barely 10 minutes.

A National Police spokesman predicted that “in all probability” the preliminary paperwork for the case would be finished later that afternoon, although he recognised that in such involved investigations, it is common for a period of 72 hours to pass before suspects appear before a court.

Among those arrested this week were department head Damia Amengual, head of services and maintenance, Juan Francisco Gosalbez, who were both senior figures in the previous Partido Popular government. Also detained was Maria Auxiliadora Perez, the wife of Gosalbez.

The suspects were confronted with accusations of misappropriation of funds, bribery, perversion of the course of justice, falsifying documentation and engaging in negotiations which are forbidden to members of the civil service.

The chief accusation is based on the fact that Gosalbez had sealed a rental contract on a property with the previous Partido Popular government - just a few days before the regional elections took place - to the tune of 300'000 in total for leasing out to the Youth Tourism department.

The property in question was registered in the name of a fictitious company owned by Gosalbez and his wife. The contract implied that the Balearic government were they to have use of the property, were to pay the owner 4'500 euros a month.

The suspects are also alleged to have received commission on a number of different construction projects.

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