Former Manilva mayor among 13 arrested over money laundering claims

Antonia Muñoz, leaving Estepona court, in a file photo.
Antonia Muñoz, leaving Estepona court, in a file photo. / SUR
  • Antonia Muñoz, who was detained on Tuesday with 12 others, has previously been caught up in a scandal over awarding council contracts and jobs to family members

The National Police arrested 13 people on the Costa del Sol on Tuesday for their alleged role in a money laundering operation. Searches were carried out in 19 different premises, including a law firm.

Among those arrested was the former mayor of Manilva, Antonia Muñoz, who is under investigation for bribery and influence peddling. Muñoz was released by the police on Wednesday with charges.

The case also involves tax offences and money laundering through real estate investment, according to Europa Press.

Investigation into the former mayor started as a result of a tip-off from the Italian authorities that one of their compatriots was investing in property on the Costa del Sol as a means of laundering money. The trail ultimately led to Muñoz.

This is not the first time Muñoz has been under investigation. During her time as mayor she was involved in a scandal over council contracts and jobs being awarded to family members and supporters. She quit her post in October 2014, after being forced out of the Izquierda Unida party in mid-2013.

In January 2018, a court agreed to open proceedings against the former mayor and six other people for misconduct in a public office and embezzlement.

Muñoz, who has been released with charges told SUR on Wednesday: “I’m really calm about this. I’m not hiding anything, nor have I ever hidden anything.”

The former mayor also said that she didn’t understand why she was being investigated: “I don’t know what any of this is about. If I knew I’d be the first to try to clear things up.”