Saturday, 30 June 2012

Two Eta suspects remanded by UK court

Two alleged members of the Basque separatist group Eta have been remanded in custody by a London court over alleged terrorist offences in Spain. Antonio Troitino Arranz, 55, and Ignacio Lerin Sanchez, 39, were arrested during an armed dawn raid in Hounslow, west London. The court heard Mr Arranz was part of a terrorist cell which planned a car bomb attack on a civil guard patrol in 1986. The men were remanded pending a full extradition hearing on 20 July. Katherine Tyler, prosecuting, said Spanish authorities raided Mr Sanchez's home in March 2007 and found 150kg of explosives, bomb-making equipment and Eta literature. For four decades, Eta has waged a bloody campaign for independence for the seven regions in northern Spain and south-west France that Basque separatists claim as their own. Ms Tyler said Mr Arranz was jailed in 1989 for the 1986 attack, which killed 12 officers. He was controversially released in April last year after serving 24 years of his sentence. But the hearing was told a court later revoked his release and a warrant was issued for his arrest, by which time he had gone on the run. Both men were remanded in custody to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 20 July pending a full hearing over Spain's request for their extradition. Two London addresses were searched on Friday. A 38-year-old woman was arrested at the same premises as the men for alleged fraud offences. She remains in police custody. Two other men at the premises were arrested for alleged immigration offences. The London arrests were not linked to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which start at the end of next month, police said.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Two British men have been sentenced to five and a half years in prison each, for organising and transporting deliveries of cocaine from the Costa del Sol

Two British men have been sentenced to five and a half years in prison each, for organising and transporting deliveries of cocaine from the Costa del Sol to other European countries, such as Holland and the United Kingdom. During one of the operations six kilos of the drug was intervened.   The third section of the Court considered it proved that one of the accused, together with the other  had been trafficking since May 2010. Europa Press said the other accused was a lorry driver and made frequent trips between the UK and the Costa del Sol.   Their arrests came after the Spanish National Police received information from the British Organised Crime Agency, that in August last year a lorry driven by the accused was going to the Costa del Sol to deliver illicit mercenary, and to load up with cocaine. As a result, Spanish police set up a watch close to a commercial centre in Mijas, and saw a rucksack being put in the vehicle. Inside the bag cocaine, valued at more than half a million euros, was found.     Following their arrest, the pair have been held on remand since August 2010, accused of a crime against public health with a substance that causes serious damage to health, in a quantity of some importance.   The men pleaded guilty to the accusations against them, so no court case was held. However, there were delays in procedures because they were not Spanish.

The National Police have arrested a 25 year old man and his accomplice for stealing twelve vehicles which he then duly sold over the Internet.

  Identified by the authorities as JMG the man first produced paperwork and a false national police badge which was glued inside a simple black wallet.  Following a cursory inspection this was always enough to identify him as a national police agent.  After then gaining people’s trust he then went on to convince them of irregularities with regard to the licensing of their vehicles, both cars and motorcycles, before making them each a derisory financial offer that would save them from likely prosecution. After one individual became suspicious and reported the matter to the police the young man was arrested and accused of offenses of misappropriation, fraud and forgery. The operation was carried out by the Group of Economic and Technological Crime Officers  (Judicial Police Brigade) and focused on the alleged hoax which was then complted via the Internet. A spokesman said that the investigation began in March, after receiving a complaint from and aggrieved person who had been defrauded by an individual claiming to be a member of the national police. A genuine officer made contact with the alleged perpetrator saying that he was interested in buying a car or motorcycle. After realising he was on the verge of being caught JMG then tried to quickly cover his tracks before going on the run, and constantly changing his address. He was finally arrested and charged last week. The Judicial Police Brigade has so far established the disappearance of twelve vehicles of which six have now been recovered.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Carlos Dívar resigns

The President of the Supreme Court and the General Council for Judicial Power has resigned after loosing the confidence of his collegues by using public money to take long weekend trips to Marbella.Carlos Dívar The President of the Supreme Court and the General Council for Judicial Power, CGPJ, Carlos Dívar, has resigned this, Thursday, morning. However, his exit will not be effective until it is printed in the BOE Official State Bulletin. He is planning a last meeting of the General Council to say his goodbyes. Dívar finally goes after losing the confidence of his colleagues on the General Council following newspaper revelations of his many long weekends spent in four star hotels in Marbella at public expense. Dívar has tried to hold on saying he has done nothing wrong, but there has been an increasing outcry from the public that the President of the Supreme Courts behaviour, if not illegal, was certainly immoral. He now becomes the first President of the General Council for Judicial Power in the democracy to resign his post. There will be two replacements for the two top positions which Dívar held. His Vice President, Fernando De Rosa, will become the new President of the General Council and Juan Antonio Xiol will become President of the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Tasty booty in Spain as crisis spawns crop theft

Drop those cherries, you're under arrest. Crops and cops are converging along Spain's journey through economic crisis: People enduring hardship are stealing the earth's bounty from farmers to help get by from day to day. Police have added the patrolling of farmland — sometimes on horseback — to their list of daily tasks. Farmers in some areas are teaming up to carry out nighttime patrols on their own. In villages near farming areas, several thousand paramilitary Civil Guards, regional and local police are even setting up checkpoints to sniff out not drugs or drunken drivers but stolen fruit or farming equipment, like copper wire used in irrigation systems. The Civil Guard says sometimes its officers mount "cage operations" — sealing off whole villages to check cars and trucks for, say, pilfered pears. The stolen goods are mainly for resale: The food ends up in small roving street markets and the metal goes to scrap dealers. Last year alone more than 20,000 thefts were reported at Spanish farms. The Interior Ministry says it has no comparative figures from other years, or for so far in 2012. But authorities and farm groups blame the thefts on Spain's economic crisis and say they are a big enough problem for the patrols, which began last season, to stay in force this year. Here in Sant Climent, a village of 4,000 just outside Barcelona in the northeastern Catalonia region, the booty this time of year is cherries — dark red, shiny and sweet — dangling like ornaments from stubby trees in orchards rising up the slopes of a river valley. They're everywhere, with people selling them from their front doorsteps and on stands inside bars for 𔛀 a kilo ($4.50 a pound). A drawing of a cherry adorns the mayor's business card. What is happening is hardly an invasion of starving unemployed people gorging themselves on cherries and trudging back into town with red-stain criminal evidence all over them. Nor is Spain's agricultural sector, which accounts for about 3 percent of GDP, in jeopardy. But the theft reflects a real problem for Spain's farmers and is a reflection of how harsh times are making ordinary people turn to crime. "This has emerged because of social alarm. Because of the crisis, crime is up," said the local police chief, Ernesto Banos. "And when cherry season comes around, people say, 'what now, cherries? OK, let's go get them." The usual suspects can be surprising, or not. "Retirees, unemployed people, young people," said Banos. Sure, at some point we've all climbed a fence and stolen a neighbor's apple. And in Spain, theft from farms — an unguarded field is an easy target — has always been around to some degree. "But the increase that has taken place since the crisis started a few years ago has been spectactular," said Estrella Larrazabal, spokeswoman for a farm association called Asaja. "Thieves take anything they can get their hands on." And things have happened in the Spanish countryside that make it look like the Wild West, or in some cases, Wall Street. — A rancher in central Spain went out one morning to view his 200-head herd of cattle and found two prized calves which had just been released into the pack shot in the head at point-blank range, and perfectly slaughtered. They were to have been prized breeders. But only the bony carcasses, with heads attached, remained in the muddy field. "Those animals were phenomenal. They were spectacular. Really fat, very well treated, and after five or six days in the field, they killed them," said the rancher, Eulogio Morales. — A farmer in Cordoba caught some men stealing plowing equipment from him. They were arrested, tried, convicted and fined 󌎊 ($115) each. But they came back to his farm repeatedly demanding he pay the fine, and eventually threatened to kill him if he did not. The farmer, Ignacio Fernandez de Mesa, wore a hidden recording device during the last showdown, and nabbed them. A new trial on the death threat charge is pending. "I stood up to them" Fernandez de Mesa said. "I was waiting for them." — Sheep rancher and lemon grower Vicente Carrion, head of the local branch of a farm lobby in the lush eastern region of Murcia, said thieves plan their hits according to what crops are getting good prices. So they are like futures traders, only instead of monitoring oil or gold, they watch artichoke or orange prices. "If there is no price, they don't touch it." Carrion said. "Prices are not stable over the course of the year. When they peak, that is when they strike." Carrion says he knows of cases where gangs have stolen up to 5,000 kilos (2.3 tons) of oranges in one go. They act in broad daylight, picking the fruit under the thick cover of leafy groves, packing them in crates and loading them in trucks. Non-tree crops require a bit more stealth. "At night, they act when the moon is full. It is bright. They sneak in and steal your artichokes," Carrion said. In Sant Climente, police say that every night they man checkpoints looking for stolen countryside goodies. The town is small, so strangers' faces stand out, and officers also know what kind of vehicles to look out for: "Usually beaten up old vans," said Joan Prunera, a Catalan regional police chief from a neighboring town who is helping out with the patrols. Minutes after he spoke, a farmer phoned in a tip: Someone was out there trying to sell a chain saw and an electrical generator, both apparently stolen. High up on a hill amid a grove of some 1,500 cherry trees, their trunks about the thickness of a man's shin, grower Domenec Tugas and his wife Pilar patiently pick cherries. They grow six varieties, all of which probably look the same to non-cherry people. He laments the need for the police patrols that make their way up into his land in all- terrain vehicles on narrow, unpaved roads. "People have always stolen a bit. You are used to that. But with the crisis it has gone up," said Tugas, a ruddy-cheeked man of 69 with an easy smile. He wore a straw hat against a hot, hazy sun, the air thick and muggy. He said that just last weekend he called in police to scare off two young guys on a motorcycle who were helping themselves to his fruit. But there is one intruder he cannot fight, at least not on his own. "Wild boars. They weigh up to 90 kilos (200 pounds). They come in and ram into the trees to knock them down," Tugas said. "It is for their little ones to eat. They love cherries."

Saturday, 16 June 2012

NATIONAL Police have arrested 17 people in connection with a ‘green card’ marriage racket operating throughout the country.

Based in Alcalá de Henares, Parla, and Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid), the gang was said to have matched up around 15 different couples where one party was a Spanish national and another was an illegal immigrant.

During house raids in Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, San Sebastián, Madrid and Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz), they found fake ID cards, driving licences, civil registry certificates and the equipment for making these.

In some cases, the accused parties are said to have acted as official witnesses at the mariage blanc unions.

Investigations started a month ago in the province of Cádiz, when it was found that a woman from Equatorial Guinea, who had Spanish nationality, had applied for her family to join her in Spain – on 15 different occasions.

Police inquiries found that the documentation for the visa applications was forged, and that the woman had carried out a number of transactions of this nature as part of the operations of the gang she was involved with.

Spanish nationals were paid vast sums of money to ‘marry’ illegal immigrants, mostly from central African countries, officers say.

Sex sells: Spain to allow brothels and prostitutes to advertise

They say sex sells; in this case, literally. Last week the Spanish parliament reversed a 2010 ban on advertising by Spanish prostitutes and brothels, ThinkSpain reports. In Spain, prostitution is legal, and it is estimated that 200,000-400,000 women work in the industry. The idea behind the reversal is to stimulate Spain’s poor economy. The sex industry spent approximately €40 million annually on advertising, according to a 2007 report. In late April, the unemployment rate in Spain soared to 24.4 percent. The youth unemployment rate in Spain hovers around 50 percent. Although the rule has temporarily been lifted, the leading party in Spain, the conservative People’s Party, will most likely try to re-ban prostitution ads.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Balearics career politician Facing jail over Alleged embezzlement of funds

Maria Antonia Munar, the former leader of the now-defunct Unió Mallorquina (UM) grouping, who Was a figure in politics center on the Balearic island from the 1980s Until her downfall in 2010, is currently on trial in Palma de Mallorca For Her Alleged Involvement in diverting public funds to private companies part-owned Either she WAS or linked with. The trial, Which Began last month, is the first piece of the jigsaw created by the legal so-Called "Make-up case," Involving the embezzlement of public money Suspected from the Mallorca-through grants to regional Government companies linked to UM and payments to election agents. It is the first of open cases Against Several Separate Munar, For Whom anti-corruption Prosecutors are seeking a six-year jail term and a 14-year ban from holding public office. Political Munar's long career saw her serve as president in the Balearic Parliamentary region, culture chief, the largest of Costitx and head of the Palma City Council in coalition governments Formed With The Popular Party, the Socialists and the nationalist Socialist Party of Mallorca. Her successor as leader of UM, Miquel Nadal, who served as vice president Munar's at Palma City Hall Between 2003 and 2007, faces charges the Same and the Same prosecutor's petition. Her successor as party leader of UM Also hinge faces charges the Same The case centers on the Approval of Contracts worth 240.000 euros public to a production company fronted by That Was Victor Garcia, Who was married to a cousin of Munar's husband, and Miquel Sard, Whose cousin is married to Nadal. That HAD testified Sard Nadal handed him an envelope in 300.000 euros to purchase video production company U. Another witness, Luisa Almiñana, That said UM filled with posts at U Video STI members, who Turned out to be ghost Employees. That Nadal has testified Munar handed him the money Personally, in her official vehicle, to purchase Video U and another audiovisual production company, Bay Broadcasting. The UM's downfall Came About When the owners of the production companies, Miquel Oliver, Ramon Rullan and Almiñana, Decided to Cooperate with Investigators. That state Prosecutors Munar and Nadal "arranged in an arbitrary to Benefit from Manner public funds to companies with Which They Had A long association of ownership, control or connection. They Were Fully aware of the legal incompatibility and THEREFORE Sought to formula [the use of front men] to hide Their actual participation in the organization. " In all there are 10 defendants in the trial: Munar and Nadal, the three owners of Video U - who will not be handed prison sentences due to Their cooperation - and the front four figures, Sard, Alfredo Conde, Elizabeth Dieguez and Garcia. Prosecutors are seeking terms of Between Two years and three months, and three years and three months for the Latter four. Munar's former press chief and former director of communications at the Palma City Hall, Margaret Sotomayor, faces a jail term Also of six years.

prime suspects in the robbery have now fled the UK for Marbella.

Harrods large

Generic Harrods image

POLICE hunting shopping molls Annette Daniel and Jean McGovern fear the thieves have fled to Spain.

The career criminals decided to sun themselves on the Costa del Sol while the heat is on at home.

We told last week how Daniel, McGovern and three gang members were being probed over a £24,000 designer dress theft from Harrods.

CCTV images of the gang at work in the posh store in London’s Knightsbridge have been passed to the Metropolitan Police.

But the prime suspects in the robbery have now fled the UK for Marbella.

One source said: “The heat caused by the Harrods job is intense and they decided to get out as quickly as possible.

“They’ll have to return at some point but I don’t think they will be in a hurry. If I was a shopkeeper in Marbella, I’d be keeping my eyes peeled for a pair of middle-aged Scottish women.”

Marbella has a string of designer stores including Carte Ingles in Puerto Banus, which carries top lines such as Prada and Tommy Hilfiger.

Last week we revealed four Roberto Cavalli and Ralph Lauren frocks had been nicked from Harrods. The store – feared by thieves for its stringent security – didn’t notice they were missing until the following day.

Daniel, 50, and McGovern, 45, who both have lengthy criminal records, are suspected of conducting the theft with gang members Roberta Burke, 48, Julie Tomlin, 32, and John Thomson.

The pair – members of Glasgow crime clans – run a team of professional thieves who travel around the UK.


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