The prosecutor is investigating alleged planning fraud valued at 169 million euros.

02-03-2018Archive

Anti-corruption prosecutor Juan Carrau has forwarded a report to the Inca courts regarding what he believes to have been crimes related to the processing of cases for building infringements in Pollensa that date back to 2004.

Carrau has spent the past twelve months investigating these alleged crimes. They came to light as the consequence of information sent to him by the municipal architect, Rafel Balaguer. Shortly before his retirement, Balaguer advised the current mayor - Miquel Àngel March - of alleged irregularities. These were regarding the building infringements but they also dealt with the purchase of a green area in Cala Molins (Cala San Vicente) in 1999 and the purchase by the town hall of the old Capitol cinema, which is just off the Plaça Major in Pollensa town. The cinema was bought during the period of the previous town hall administration.

The case regarding the building infringements centres on allegations that there was a systematic fraud by which owners who were facing proceedings made payments of up to 20% of the value of construction. These files against them were then kept in the drawer. After a time, the period for which these proceedings and files could remain open would expire. The prosecutor has placed a value of 169 million euros on these payments.

When Carrau started his investigation, the councillor for urban planning, Tomeu Cifre Bennàsar, announced at a council meeting that the department's work was logjammed because of a need to respond to requests for information from the prosecution service. In May last year, the Guardia Civil took away documentation that the department had gathered. This documentation was for some 1,400 proceedings for planning infringements from 2004 to 2016.

Balaguer contacted Carrau because he felt that the mayor and the town hall were dragging their heels over the warning he had given. Because, as he has alleged, no action was initiated, he sent the information to the prosecutor.

As a consequence of information received and his investigation, Carrau has asked the court to open proceedings against March on the grounds that he failed to act on the denunciation that Balaguer had made. In addition to placing March under investigation, the prosecutor wants the court to do the same with various municipal officials and two former mayors - Joan Cerdà and Tomeu Cifre Ochogavia.

The town hall has fully cooperated with the prosecutor, a point that March is stressing. He draws attention to changes made by the town hall secretary to the processing of files for building infractions. According to March, he was told that from 2008 everything was processed correctly. The report that the secretary drew up is also with the prosecutor. March says that this report concluded that the town hall administration had known about and permitted illegal building. In fact, the secretary's report, dated November 2007, is described as "devastating" in that it highlights systematic bad practice and a lack of control over payments.

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Henry James / Hace 8 months

There must be more brown envelopes passed around in Majorca than just about anywhere.

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