Police on Thursday arrested the Socialist mayor of Ourense, Francisco Rodríguez, along with 12 other people as part of an anti- corruption sweep in a public contract fraud investigation.
Among the other suspects detained are Adolfo García, the Popular Party (PP) mayor of Boqueixón, and former Socialist councilor Francisco Fernández Liñares. The arrests took place in Galicia, Asturias and Madrid. Rodríguez is facing charges for bribery, influence peddling and falsification of documents relating to an alleged contract bidding scheme involving a company called Vendex, which is also linked to the PP mayor of Boqueixón.
“We want to know when they are going to take a statement from him. We haven’t been told anything,” said Rodríguez’s lawyer Carlos Hernández, who was waiting outside the police station in Pontevedra where his client was being held.
The arrests have shaken the regional Socialist Party as it prepares for elections on October 22. “All citizens are innocent until proven guilty but the mayor of Ourense is a person who represents thousands of people and this is going to have repercussions for the common citizen,” said Galician Socialist leader Pablo García.
Police conducted a search of the mayor’s office as part of the so-called Operation Pokemon investigation, which began in August and is focusing on an alleged money-laundering and embezzlement scheme.
Officers also confiscated documents covering the last two elected terms from the city procurement office in Lugo. Fernández Liñares was the urban development commissioner in Lugo during the most recent term.