Spain has taken an unprecedented decision to dissolve Marbella’s town council after its mayor and several senior officials were arrested over a multi-billion property scandal.
After announcing the government’s decision, deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said new elections at the southern beach resort would be held next May.
Marbella’s mayor, her deputy and the head of town planning were arrested last week pending trial on Saturday. It is part of a probe into a long-standing housing boom at the renowned Costa del Sol resort. A total of 23 people have been arrested over the investigation into crimes,including embezzlement of public funds, bribery and price fixing. Police suspect the scams involved a total of 2.4 billion euros.
Construction-related scandals have been an ongoing feature in Marbella, which is sometimes called the “Costa del Crime” by the Britain tabloid press because it has often served as a haven for exiled criminals. The sun spot is particularly popular with Britons and Germans, and many have second homes there. In the current probe, the Andalusian regional government has challenged more than 200 building licences.