The police were alerted by the government office in Malaga. / policia nacional

Police arrest 43 people for Social Security fraud and exploiting migrant labour in Malaga

Most of the victims were Moroccan with no residence or work permits, who were kept in poor conditions in properties owned by a criminal gang

IVÁN GELIBTER Malaga

Fake contracts, excessive working hours and different types of fraud: police in Malaga have arrested 43 people who are accused of exploiting migrant labour and housing the workers, most of whom are from Morocco, in subhuman conditions.

The organisation, which includes at least seven companies in the agricultural sector, is also accused of social security fraud by issuing fake work contracts in exchange for money, normally charging the migrants between 1,500 and 3,000 euros.

The investigation began in November after a warning from the government sub-delegate’s office in Malaga about offences being carried out by legally-established businesses in the province. The police have said the migrants had no residence or work permits, so the companies registered them with the relevant authorities, but used the identities of other foreigners whose documentation is in order.

Fake work contracts

They also issued fake work contracts, with which the migrants were able to apply for or renew their permits to stay in Spain and apply for certain benefits.

The police also believe the companies may have committed tax fraud with regard to the IVA sales tax, income and company tax, and that the criminal group was working with a lawyer and also several employees at a gestoría.

The 43 people who have been arrested include the leaders of the gang, and after searching four properties the police seized 56,985 euros in cash, four mobile phones and a large amount of documentation.