By Euro Weekly News Media •
Published: 17 Mar 2014 • 9:40
Magdalena Alvarez, the European Investment Bank Vice President, is at the centre of a Spanish probe into the misuse of millions of euros.
Alvarez, a former public works minister, is under investigation over her alleged role in the fraudulent use of public funds.
The funds were used to pay severance pay for companies in Andalusia in southern Spain that laid off workers.
Alvarez, named as an official suspect in the case in July 2013, has now been linked more closely to the corruption scandal after the judge leading the enquiry ordered her to post a €29.6 million bond to cover her liability in the case.
The alleged fraud involved a regional development fund that was used to pay fake severance payments to dozens of people who never worked for the firms in question.
The suspected beneficiaries of the payments were individuals and companies with close ties to left-wing trade unions and the Socialist Party, which has ruled Andalusia for three decades.
According to Spanish media reports, over €140 million were misused and embezzled from the fund between 2001 and 2010.
Alvarez, Andalusia’s economy and finance minister between 1994 and 2004, has said in a statement that she is “completely innocent”.
She has said she will appeal the sum of the bail order, a figure she called “disproportionate”, and argued that she had not been responsible for how the money of the regional development fund was used.
Alvarez could face charges of misappropriation of public funds and embezzlement.
The European Investment Bank released a statement saying that it was “following the situation closely” and respected the “presumption of innocence”.
This newest corruption scandal has resulted in the popularity of the Socialist Party plummeting in Andalusia, a left-wing bastion.
The case comes in the wake of several high-level corruption scandals that have rocked Spain over the last few years.
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