En Espagne,
Nouvelle Immense corruption éolienne

Le village de la Muela ( près de Saragosse)
17 personnes en prison... dont le maire

The village of La Muela, 20 km from Zaragoza, was the showcase of the Spanish windfarm industry. Its example was being touted by windfarm developers in town halls all over the country. Thanks to the 500 wind turbines erected on its territory, La Muela had been able to afford a sport center, a theatre, a bullring, an industrial park and... a wind museum. But what most captured the imagination were those subsidised trips to the Carribean for its inhabitants.

Well, it's all over now. The mayor is in jail, as well as 17 other persons.


Thursday, 26 March 2009
Mayoress behind bars
Probe into alleged corruption in wind turbine deal in Aragón

News Staff Reporter

ANOTHER town hall scandal, this time in Aragón, saw another mayor jailed last Sunday. However, the issue in the small town of La Muela is not about illegal construction, but centres on the profits from wind power.

Five hundred power-generating windmills mark the landscape of the small town a few kilometres south west of Zaragoza.

The companies which own and operate the turbines pay rent and taxes of a million euros per year to the town hall, while landowners share a further half million, each receiving around 3,000 euros annually.

The windfall from wind power has provided La Muela's population of around 5,000 with museums, a theatre and bull ring, plus a new sports centre. Many residents also took advantage of a town hall scheme which paid up to half the cost of foreign holidays.

But the mayor and others have now been accused of demanding bribes from the developers and an investigating magistrate sent two of those allegedly involved, a local councillor and a Madrid businessman, to prison on Saturday. The next day, mayor María Victoria Pinilla of the Partido Aragonés was interviewed in court for more than four hours and then imprisoned without bail. She now faces nine charges including bribery, money laundering, perversion of the course of justice and fraud.

The mayor denies any wrongdoing, although one of her two sons is reported to have been arrested last week. He has since been freed but has had to surrender his passport. The mayor's husband, the municipal architect and other businessmen are also being questioned.

This is not the first scandal to hit the clean power industry of windmills and solar panels. Last year, regional officials in Castilla y León were sacked after awarding licences to relatives while the mayor of Bigastro near Torrevieja was arrested for allegedly selling licences.

voir aussi article du Monde du

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