The offices of the municipal police in Vélez-Málaga were raided by National Police early one morning at the beginning of July. The action by the Economic and Fiscal Crime unit was one of similar surprise visits in over 20 municipalities across Spain.

At the centre of the operation was a Catalan company suspected of fraud in the supply of traffic management systems invoice at inflated prices and investigators wanted to examine documents from the period 2010-11. The probe began in 2016 and charges of forgery, bribery, and membership of criminal gangs are expected to be brought. Around 40 detentions are reported to have been made nationally including mayors, councillors and police chiefs.

In Vélez, the local police chief, José Andrés Montoya, was detained at home before 8.00am and taken for questioning.  Reports say he maintained his right not to answer questions put to him by investigators.

The mayor of Vélez, Antonio Moreno Ferrer, said later that no political office had been investigated and that the by mid-morning everything was “back to normal.”  He stressed that there was no other person under investigation and that the Vélez local government had no links to any contract or service supplied by the Catalan firm being probed.