A former Marbella councillor, wanted in Spain on corruption charges, has spoken out in public for the first time about why he fled the country in 2006 and went into hiding.
Carlos Fernández, speaking from Argentina where he was finally found and arrested in September this year, blamed lack of guarantees of a fair legal process in Spain for his reason for evading original arrest 11 years ago.
“I saw that prison was waiting for me and I decided to go away,” said Fernández as he was released from a jail in Chimbas, in San Juan province, where he had been held for over three months since being detained by local authorities and while an Argentinean judge was considering Spain's call for him to be extradited.
The ex-councillor, who maintains his innocence, said that in 2006 he had wanted to speak to a judge to clarify the situation he found himself in, but seeing that wasn't going to be possible, he decided to leave Spain and wait for the charges against him to expire.
Last week, a judge in Argentina ruled that five of Spain's original six charges against Fernández relating to corruption had expired under Argentinean law and that only one, linked to a case of misuse of public funds at Marbella town hall called 'Saqueo 2', was still valid and that extradition could go ahead.
Fernández is free while an appeal is considered, a process that is expected to take several months. In the meantime he must attend court every two weeks.
In Marbella, Fernández's brother Antonio, head of his legal team, has told SUR that his sibling's reappearance was part of a calculated plan to force the Spanish authorities to reveal documents they hold on the case and that several lines of defence are being considered in the event of a trial in Spain.