Spanish police launched joint raids on the Madrid and Barcelona offices of rail infrastructure company Adif on Tuesday morning, arresting 14 people in connection with an ongoing investigation into graft in the construction of the AVE high-speed rail route in Catalonia.
Senior officials at Adif are accused of creaming off an estimated €80 million from contracts to extend the AVE route to the French border, which includes building a second AVE hub outside Barcelona at La Sagrera.
AVE subcontractors either didn't carry out work or provided falsified, inflated invoices
Anti-corruption police accuse Adif officials of certifying sub-contracted work to extend the AVE route to the French border that was either not carried out or that used sub-standard and cheaper materials to those described in invoices.
Tuesday’s arrests are part of Operation Yogui, set up in 2013, which produced nine arrests at Adif in May 2014. Among those detained is Jaime García, the former head of infrastructure at the company, and his boss, former director Rafael Rodríguez.
Work on Barcelona’s AVE infrastructure is severely delayed and in some cases has been stopped as a result of the ongoing investigation into falsified bills.
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English version by Nick Lyne.