Spain now faces surge in corruption cases spreading across city halls, regional governments, and even the royal family. Transparency International estimates that 1,000 corruption investigations are now under way across the country. Most of these investigations involve charges that politicians and public officials enriched themselves during the economic boom, while asking the public to live with huge austerity programs.
In a high-profile case, Inaki Urdangarin, the son-in-law of King Juan Carlos is said to be facing investigations into charges of skimming millions of dollars from padded government contracts. In December 2011 the palace announced Urdangarin would step aside from official duties, and that the financial accounts of the royal household would be made available for public inspection.
Ken Dubin, a political scientist at IE Business School and Carlos III University said that, money skimmed from public coffers was also used to finance political party activities . Valencia wastewater-treatment agency executives charged Armani suits and luxury watches to their expense accounts and jetted around the globe, staying in five-star hotels. The agency found more than $22 million mising from its accounts.
The ex-president of the Balearic Islands went on trial in January on charges including embezzlement and fraud. The police in Andalucia accused the region’s former employment chief with spending $1. 2 million in public money on cocaine and other personal purchases.
But, Alejandro Quiroga, a Spanish political scientist at Newcastle University in Britain, said that the schedule of planned corruption trials now stretched into 2014.
Marta Andreasen, a Spanish-trained accountant who previously served as the European Union’s chief financial controller and now is a member of the European Parliament, says neither the EU nor the Spanish government showed much interest in controlling such abuses.