THE political war of words over the alleged Andratx corruption scandal flared up again yesterday with the pressure back on the ruling conservative Partido Popular regional government. Yesterday morning, the Balearic Minister for the Interior, the secretary general of the Balearic Partido Popular, Jose Maria Rodríguez, called an urgent press conference to deny reports made by the local press that he may have tipped the former conservative Mayor of Andratx off about his pending arrest. Rodriguez also used the press briefing to rule out talk of him resigning.
According to the press reports, Rodríguez telephoned the disgraced ex-Mayor of Andratx, Eugenio Hidalgo, on the morning of the mayor's arrest on seven charges including bribery and money laundering. Rodriguez was yesterday forced to admit that he did call Hidalgo just after 8am on the morning of Monday, November 27, just 48 hours after the two men had met, but the Balearic Minister has categorically denied that he tipped Hidalgo off about the Guardia Civil investigation and that he was about to be arrested. “I did not know myself,” the minister claimed before stating that he has no intention of resigning and that the media was tipped-off about the phone call by “interested parties.” What is more, Rodriguez intends to demand that the newspapers which claimed he was the “mole”, publish full apologies.
If the minister does get his apology, then the Guardia Civil will have to continue its hunt for the person who apparently tipped off all those under investigation days before the arrests. This gave enough time for important documents and potential evidence to be destroyed or tampered with, as the Guardia Civil has confirmed. But, last night another bombshell was dropped when the spokesperson for the Partido Popular in the Balearics, Miquel Ramis, revealed that Rodriguez's personal mobile telephone was tapped under judicial orders for two weeks from December 5 to 13. The PP's Minister for the Interior only found out about the phone tap yesterday morning and it is understood that the judge presiding over the corruption probe, Alvaro Latorre, sanctioned the tap to investigate whether secrets have been revealed or information concealed by the Minister. The former Mayor of Andratx, Hidalgo, and his municipal planning inspector, Jaume Gibert, were released from Palma prison on bail last week but still face seven charges. They have been forced to surrender their passports while the investigation into alleged construction corruption in Andratx continues.


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