The Provincial Court of Malaga has acquitted all those implicated in the 'Acinipo' case, which investigated an alleged plot of urban corruption in Ronda town hall, when it was governed by the former Mayor Antonio Marín Lara, known as 'Toti', along with his then partner in government, the socialist Francisco Cañestro.
Marín Lara, the main accused, died of a serious illness in 2019 and the rest of those involved, who sat in the dock this summer, have been cleared of the charges against them.
Cañestro was accused of influence peddling but at the end of the trial, he was acquitted. After the ex-PSOE leader publicly celebrated he returned to Ronda politics, and is currently the PSOE candidate for mayor in the next municipal elections.
The widow of Marín Lara, Josefa Valle, a former councillor at the time and now a councillor in the opposition was acquitted of bribery. The former councillor Rafael Lara was also acquitted of passive bribery; builder Francisco Vera, was acquitted of falsification of official documents and passive bribery; the former municipal secretary, Jesús Díaz de Lope Díaz Sánchez, was cleared of the charges of prevarication and falsification of official documents; and the former municipal architect, Sebastián Naranjo, was cleared of the charge of falsification of official documents.
The 'Acinipo' case was opened in April 2010 and in September 2011 led to extensive searches by officers from the National Police and the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office of municipal premises in Ronda town hall and in the headquarters of the town’s planning department.
A total of seven people were arrested: the former mayor Marín Lara, Cañestro, Lara and the former councillor María José Martín de Haro, as well as two businessmen and a lawyer, Antonio Villacorta and Eduardo Yubero and Miguel Ángel Borrego. The latter three, along with Martín de Haro, were previously acquitted.
The operation blew open Ronda's political landscape. PP and PA were governing at the time, with María de la Paz Fernández (PP) at the head, a pact that was reached after Marín Lara won the elections for the PSOE. The investigation focused on the previous legislature, when Marín Lara was seated in the mayor's seat, first under the PA and then under the socialist party, since he and his eight councillors switched to this party. The PSOE of Ronda was left in charge of a management committee.
Judicial investigations were carried out into alleged irregularities in the setting up of an Eroski shopping centre in the town, with the involvement of a business group from Ronda; the sale of land in the old fairgrounds and other areas; the awarding of works; a loan from above mentioned business group to the PA; and the awarding of asphalting works, among other contracts.
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