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Spain: Bid-fixing ‘fire cartel’ involved in fraud worth 100 million

 |  January 19, 2016

Spanish police have arrested over 20 people throughout the country, all tied to a corruption network led by former Valencia Community Delegate Serafin Castellano. The group is accused of price-fixing and manipulating public contracts for forest-fire management throughout Spain, Portugal and Italy. The alleged fraud amounts to over 100 million euros.

Agents from Spain’s Fiscal and Economic Crimes Unit stopped 20 people in Alicante, Valencia and other Spanish provinces, acting on information obtained after the arrest of Mr. Castellano in May 2015 over alleged influence-peddling with Valencia-based company Avialsa. The investigation so far points towards Avialsa’s president, Vicente Huerta, as the mastermind behind the ‘Fire Cartel’. At this time over 30 people and 20 separate companies are under investigation.

Authorities have opened classified proceedings for Criminal Conspiracy, manipulating public contracts, false merchandising, fraud, falsifying public documents and fraudulent negotiations with public officials, among other serious charges.

Full content: El Mundo

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