Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine
Menas Case: Foundation Siglo XXI directors allegedly filed false invoices, unrealistic expenses and repeatedly drew funds from ATMs, meant for the care of migrant children, even charging botox facial treatments and posh restaurant bills to foundation debit cards
Jun, 2023 |
A comprehensive analysis conducted by Group I of the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the National Police yielded scandalous results, writes Spanish language daily Canarias7, regarding the alleged irregular use of the public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied minors, by the suspected to have been perpetrated by centres managed by the Foundation Social Response Siglo XXI on Gran Canaria and Lanzarote. In this case, driven by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, investigators discovered that the director of the Guiniguada centre charged the NGO responsible for €1,500 worth of beauty treatments and €1,113 for bills at top restaurants including Vinófilos, El Vasco de Vegueta, and Triciclo.
Centre-Right Pact Between Regionalists (CC) And Resident Conservatives (PPAV) Returns Marco Aurelio Perez As Southern Mayor
Jun, 2023 |
The conservative Partido Popular-Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) and the right of centre regionalist Coalición Canaria (CC) have this Thursday signed a local government pact that will shape the future of the southern Gran Canaria tourism municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The alliance, dubbed a “Pact for Stability and Socioeconomic Progress of San Bartolomé Tirajana”, represents 60% of the votes cast in the municipality’s recent local elections, emphasised the mayor-elect, Marco Aurelio Pérez (PP-AV), who returns for the third time to lead the local council responsible for some of the most important tourism areas on the island, including Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés and San Agustín.
Local Government Coalition Agreement Maspalomas and the South of Gran Canaria
Jun, 2023 |
A governing coalition pact has been finalised in San Bartolomé de Tirajana. The Popular Party–Agrupación de Vecinos (PP-AV) conservative residents party is to join forces with regionalist centre-right Coalición Canaria (CC) to govern the main tourist municipality on Gran Canaria for the next four years. Marco Aurelio Pérez will serve as mayor for the entire four-year term, and the Popular Party will take charge of Employment, Sports, Roads and Infrastructure, and Human Resources, among other areas. The regionalists, led by Alejandro Marichal, will oversee Urban Planning, Economy and Finance, and Tourism as their main departments.
Storm Óscar Latest: Government of the Canary Islands Declares Rain Alert for Western Islands and Gran Canaria
Jun, 2023 |
A storm system, dubbed Óscar, has formed over the last few days over the mid-north Atlantic, unusual for this time of year, and has led to concern from meteorologists and journalists as it passes south of the Azores, its tail should reach The Canary Islands, before the system heads northeast towards mainland Spain. Advisory warnings have been issued in expectation of heavy rainfall, primarily in the Western Isles of the Canary Islands Archipelago, though some rainfall is also expected to reach Gran Canaria over the next couple of days. It seems unlikely that any major consequences will stem from the bad weather, however these things can be unpredictable and so every precaution is taken to ensure people are informed and kept safe.
Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors
Jun, 2023 |
The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.
Man found dead at landfill identified as Telde homeless man, named Raúl
Apr, 2022 | News
The man found dead by workers at the Ecoparque Gran Canaria Sur landfill last Thursday, in Juan Grande, has been identified was being a 40 year old homeless man named Raúl. He was known in the area of Telde’s San Gregorio health clinic, where he spent his days assisting drivers to find parking, in the hope of earning small amounts of cash. His body was discovered when the collected refuse was being sorted, and upon first examination did not appear to show any signs of violence, leading preliminary investigators to suggest that he may have died of natural causes, or accidentally when the container in which he was sleeping was emptied into a collection truck in the neighbourhoods of Las Remudas, San Juan or on Calle Canovas del Castillo, where the truck had been doing its rounds. Policia Nacional are awaiting results of the autopsy to uncover the cause of death, and thereby direct the investigations.
The municipal street cleaning service workers began the Las Remudas, San Juan and Calle Cánovas del Castillo route at four that morning, after which they took their truck, as usual, to the landfill site to unload the waste collected. Raul’s corpse passed through several of the selective processes, until one of the operators noticed his body on the belt, where the waste was being divided. At around a quarter to seven that morning, EcoParque workers notified the Maspalomas National Police. Several patrols immediately went to the scene, near the southeast town of Juan Grande, in the municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, to start an investigation, according to sources consulted.
The man could not initially be identified, but within hours the Homicide Brigade managed to name him: Raúl, a resident of Jinámar, who was dedicated to parking cars in the area of the San Gregorio outpatients clinic and whose family comes from from the north of Gran Canaria.
The first inspection of the body indicated that, in principle, there were no signs of violence, pointing to a possible accidental or natural death. They determined which dumpster he was most likely to have been in, and considered where he had been sleeping there when the garbage truck came to empty the container. One hypotheses is that he was in Las Remudas, a neighbourhood where he was known to spend his evenings, after spending the day showing drivers where to park their vehicle near the San Gregorio health centre. The driver of the municipal vehicle did not notice his presence, as the containers are automatically picked up from the side of the vehicle.
A store worker in neighbourhood, speaking to Spanish language daily La Provincia, has been reported as saying that Raúl was a friendly person, who appeared practically every afternoon to ask for something to eat, having spent most days in the northeast town of Telde’s main urban area. On some occasions they saw him sleep at a bus stop in front of a supermarket, if he had no where else to go.
Raúl was also well known and liked among the stallholders of the Telde Market, according to another witness, where he used to go in the mornings to request some food. “He was a noble boy,” said the witness “last night he must have been cold and got into the container,” they added.
Body found at Juan Grande “EcoParque” landfill in south of Gran Canaria
Suspected thief arrested in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria with fake id and possible counterfeit money
Apr, 2022 | investigation, News
Agents of the Citizen Security Unit (USECI) of the General Corps of the Canarian Police on the afternoon of Friday, April 15, arrested an individual for an alleged crime of robbery with force at a house in the south western tourist resort town of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria. The man had been seen trying force several locks on doors of an apartment complex in the municipality of Mogán.
Agents discovered, among the belongings this individual was carrying, a Spanish DNI identity card that did not belong to him, that he apparently used to impersonate someone else.
They located banknotes of various denominations, which, it is believed, may be counterfeits, which they seized for the purpose of making them available to the Forensic Documentation Experts and Documentary Experts of the General Corps of the Canarian Police for their assessment.
Puerto Bello complex claims €1million in damages from Canary Islands Government
Mar, 2022 | News
The owners of the Puerto Bello apartment complex, in the popular tourist town of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, are claiming nearly one million euros from the Canary Islands Government for damages caused by some of a group of unaccompanied migrant minors who were being sheltered there for several months, ostensibly under the guardianship of the Canary Islands Regional Autonomous Executive.
Featured Image: Puerto Bello damage, Image by @Rafaleonortega/CanariasAhora
According to the owners, some of the damage stemmed from the disturbances that took place on February 8 2021, which were allegedly organised by a man who had falsely claimed to be a minor. Sources from the Ministry of Social Rights have explained to independent news portal CanariasAhora that when the person suspected of being responsible for the riot was arrested, it was quickly proven that he was in fact of legal age.
Several adults were suspected to be among the more than two thousand foreign children who arrived alone on the Canary Islands throughout 2020, a problem that grew in the Archipelago at the same time as unprecedented numbers of migrant arrivals were not able to be removed or to leave of their own volition, due to pandemic restrictions in place at the time. The main cause of these adults being placed among children in care was identified as being initial errors by the National Police at the point of first contact and the subsequent lengthy delays in carrying out age determination tests and obtaining the results. This prevented many youths, being cared from by the state, from being able to be sent to school until their age was officially determined.
In fact, on the very same day that these disturbances occurred, misplaced adults were suspected of causing problems, which we had explained at the time following one of our many visits to this centre, and others, in the area:
“95 percent” of current problems in migrant minor accommodations caused by those suspected to really be adults
Hermanos Medina La Herradura SL, who own the Puerto Bello complex, will demand the payment of the damages by administrative means, from the autonomous community, withdrawing their private accusation in the case against the young Moroccan whose trial was to be held this Tuesday at the Provincial Court of Las Palmas, but which was suspended due to a failure to summon some of the witnesses, according to sources from the Prosecutor’s Office.
The lawyer for the complex, Álvaro Campanario, pointed out that the Prosecutor’s Office are claiming €10,092 worth of damage caused in the attempted riot, allegedly incited and led by the accused Ahmed H., but that there were many more incidents that occurred in the apartments during the nine months it was being used as a temporary reception centre for unaccompanied minors arriving by boat.
The contract between Puerto Bello and the Regional Government expired on July 31 with the complex once again beginning to operate as tourist accommodation, as of the end of 2021, according to court papers.
During the time the property was assigned as an accommodation centre for unaccompanied migrant minors, it was under the supervision of the NGO, Fundación Respuesta Social Siglo XXI, who since 2001 have provided services and infrastructure in the field of childhood and youth social care, developing programs that range from educational and residential care for minors to the management of Nursery Schools, through the implementation of training and employment promotion programs for the young.
The young Moroccan on trial faces up to five years in prison accused of crimes of public disorder, in competition with attack and causing damage, having allegedly led a small rampage through the facility, in the company of other residents, all minors, on the night of February 8, 2021. Full responsibility for the disturbances on that night have been placed squarely on the shoulders of the accused man, who had misrepresented himself as also being a minor, and who should not have been among the unaccompanied youths who were being cared for at the facility.
According to the Public Prosecutor’s accusation, the defendant, carrying a wooden leg torn from a bed in one of the rooms, and in the company of four other minors – who also carried chains, wooden sticks and broken glass – intimidated the young residents of the complex, the vast majority of whom would not join their violent revolt, though he managed to get about twenty to follow him and make trouble.
As a result of that night’s events, the defendant and the other minors caused damage to every floor of the Puerto Bello complex, breaking the glass in doors and windows, breaking all kinds of furniture and appliances, electrical outlets and light sockets, say the Prosecutor’s Office in their brief.
The charges include details of how some minors threw objects, such as microwaves, chairs and tables, from the balconies of the rooms on the upper floors, to the lower ones, causing the educators present at the centre to have to hide to avoid being injured while they waited for the arrival of the security forces.
The agents, when they appeared at the complex, observed the placement of barricades built with chairs, microwaves and glass smashed on the floor, the perpetrators having spilled soapy water to try to prevent access and their arrest, which took several hours, says the indictment.
Unsubstantiated accusations of a failure to protect children
An anonymous complaint, purporting to be from a group of workers at the centre, claimed that there had been some evidence of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation among the vulnerable residents, which occurred both inside and outside the establishment. According to the text, to which CanariasAhora has had access, at least three minors from the centre were suspected to have practiced some form of prostitution, both inside the establishment and also outside, with adults in the local area.
According to these reports of unchecked exploitation, at least one minor was said to have also suffered sexual abuse, perpetrated by adults incorrectly accommodated there, who, despite the fact that their legal age had already been proven, had not yet been referred to another adult reception facility elsewhere in the Archipelago.
The complainants furthermore claimed that the management of the centre were aware of these facts, but that they had “refused to request diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted diseases for the minors.” And it was this, theoretically, that motivated the complaint emailed to the Canary Islands social services and to the local town hall.
It was specifically this anonymous complaint that led the Government of the Canary Islands to order two urgent inspections, which did not manage to obtain any proof the veracity of the accusations. A few days after the document became known in the media, the Las Palmas Prosecutor’s Office, through their Minors’ Section, called for those responsible for the appeal to testify.
Minors continue to be moved from Puerto Rico while prosecutors investigate anonymous allegations
Puerto Bello investigation looks more closely as it emerges current director is newly appointed
Mogán Policia Local track down and arrest two pickpockets in Puerto Rico
Mogán Policia Local say they stopped and arrested two pickpockets last week, after a day of surveillance, having received reports from Playa de Mogán, and subsequently a tourist whose belongings had been allegedly stolen in a pool bar, in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, the tourist resort town where they were eventually intercepted.
Puerto de Mogán control tower operators reported to the Policia Local the identity of two men suspected of being pickpockets. Hours later, an agent reported a possible pickpocketing, at the main Global bus stop, which he managed to photograph. The identity match was confirmed by the person in charge of the station, who was also able to confirm that the two men had left the scene in a vehicle.
Minutes later, Policia Local received a call from a bar near the beach in Puerto Rico, reporting the theft of a wallet from one of their clients, who had been enjoying the day with his family. His belongings included £300, bank cards and a driving license.
At about the same time, Guardia Civil intercepted the car carrying the suspected pickpockets, on Avenida Tomas Roca Bosch and requested the presence of Policia Local officers to carry out alcohol and drug detection tests. There the victim of the crime recognised the alleged perpetrator in the passenger seat of the stopped vehicle, who was arrested after an inspection of the vehicle uncovered the stolen belongings, which could be immediately returned to their owner.
Policia Local required the driver’s driving license, but he stated that he did not have one and only provided an illegible document where his driving license number was supposed to appear. He was also asked to do alcohol and drug tests, which he repeatedly refused.
Faced with this situation, a crime against road safety, the driver delivered an identity card from his country of origin but did not prove a place of residence on the island, essential to guarantee his location when his presence before the judicial authority is necessary, and therefore, he too was arrested.
Newsbrief: Guardia Civil recover objects stolen from Mogan Mall with market value of €4870
Feb, 2022 | Crime, investigation, Mogán, Police
The Guardia Civil of the Main Post in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, in collaboration with the Policia Local of Santa Lucía, arrested three people between the ages of 26 and 33, with numerous prior police records, for thefts committed in commercial establishments.
The investigation began on January 30, when Mogán Mall shopping centre security team alerted the Puerto Rico Guardia Civil Post of the occurrence of a criminal act in a well-known commercial establishment and that the perpetrators were travelling in a vehicle with specific characteristics.
For all these reasons, a notice was given to the police units in service for the location and interception of said vehicle and its perpetrators, obtaining a positive result when agents of the Policia Local of Santa Lucía, during the execution of a static control device, they observed how said vehicle carried out an evasive manoeuvre to avoid police action, having been intercepted during the course of its flight.
Several valuables were found in the vehicle, some even with the anti-theft devices still installed, as well as previously prepared effects and tools that allowed the alarm and security systems of commercial establishments to be eluded.
The immediate coordination between both forces allowed the arrest of the three individuals, in addition to the recovery of effects with a market value of about €4,870.
Police dismantle prolifically active cocaine organisation on Gran Canaria
Guardia Civil and Policia Nacional, regarding Operation JEZABEL-DOOLITTLE, consider dismantled one of the most active criminal groups on the Island of Gran Canaria, specialised in the introduction and subsequent distribution of large quantities of cocaine on the island.
After several phases of investigation, the operation has resulted in the arrest of 8 people, 7 of them of Spanish nationality and another Bulgarian, having managed to seize a total of 17 kilograms of cocaine and 13 litres of procaine, a precursor used for the adulteration of narcotics. Investigators had become aware of a criminal group based in the Canary archipelago, possibly planning the introduction of significant amount of cocaine, specifically on the island of Gran Canaria.
Agents were able to find out that this group had several vehicles prepared with “caches”, spaces created inside, to hide drugs and money, as well as buildings in which to store the narcotic substance prior to its distribution.It was also possible to corroborate the existence of a group of people, paid by the criminal organisation, who acted as “mules” moving the money obtained from the sale of the drug off the island.
Subsequently, it was also possible to detect the route of entry of the precursors, substances used for the adulteration of cocaine in this case, specifically procaine, a drug that blocks nerve conduction and acts as a powerful local anaesthetic, seizing a total of 13 litres of the substance at Gran Canaria airport.
More than a million euros was seized and 17 kg of cocaine
In a final phase of the operation, it was possible to identify the leader of this organisation and all the members who actively participated in the events under investigation, both in the introduction and in the distribution and laundering of money. It should be noted that throughout the investigation €1,000,000 in banknotes of different denominations have been seized, the majority carried by the aforementioned “mules”.
Guardia Civil arrests two men for animal abuse and abandonment in Santa Lucía de Tirajana
The Guardia Civil’s Seprona Patrol (Environment and Animal welfare) from the Vecindario Post, between January 08 and 14, arrested a 26-year-old man and another 50-year-old man, as the alleged perpetrators of a crime of animal abuse and abandonment. The events occurred after several residents of Santa Lucía de Tirajana provided the Guardia Civil videos and photographs of the unfortunate state the animals were being kept in, suspecting a possible case of mistreatment or omission of the necessary care for their subsistence.
A uniformed SEPRONA patrol moved to the place, indicated by the local residents, and found twelve dogs, most of them hunting dogs.
The habitats where the animals were found were in a state that was incompatible with life, due to a lack of hygiene and, furthermore, the dogs were in a state of extreme malnourishment with obvious infestations by different parasites and many had unhealed wounds.
One of the dogs was missing half a leg and the wound was still unhealed due to lack of veterinary care.
Of the twelve animals, 4 lacked the requisite identification or documentation for their possession, for which Seprona initiated several administrative files, including lack of vaccination, lacking town hall registrations in the census and lack of a zoocan identifications.
It should be noted that, during the inspection carried out by the Guardia Civil, several interested people approached, requesting to be able to express their objections to the treatment that these animals. Subsequently, 9 people filed official complaints, arguing that the facts had already been exposed to other institutions outside the Guardia Civil, not only because of the state of the animals but because they did not stop barking all day.
The Guardia Civil communicated with those responsible for Santa Lucía Town Council, requesting they collect the animals, also requesting the presence of a veterinary doctor to come to the scene, for an in-situ assessment of the state of the animals and their kennels before seizing the animals. Once an examination of each animal was carried out, they were handed over to the municipal services of the Santa Lucía de Tirajana Town Council, remaining in custody at the Council’s facilities until a resolution or judicial pronouncement can be made in this regard.
During the inspection, SEPRONA detected two buildings in the area where the animals were located that were built illegally on protected rustic land, also carrying out the appropriate steps in terms of urban planning for a crime Against Territorial Planning.
Proceedings and detainees were handed over to the Duty Court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana.
450 kg of cocaine found in a container at the port of Las Palmas
Jun, 2021 | Crime, investigation, News, Police
A container, which was destined for Valencia, was inspected in the Port of Las Palmas and 450 kg of cocaine was seized, as a result three people were arrested in the port of Valencia
Policia Nacional Agents, in a joint operation with the Guardia Civil and the Tax Agency, this week discovered 450 kg of cocaine hidden in a container that was in transit from Brazil to Spain, its first point of entry into Spain being the port of Las Palmas of Gran Canaria.
Investigations began when, through international customs and police cooperation, information was received of a possible narcotic substance having been detected, presumably cocaine, from a container destined for Valencia.
A joint team of investigators was formed, made up of officials from the Policia Nacional working with agents from Customs Surveillance and the Guardia Civil. This team carried out the operational actions that determined the apprehension of 450 kg of cocaine in the Port of Las Palmas, initiating the appropriate investigations in relation to the recipients of the drug. These steps made it possible to determine that there were three people of Spanish nationality involved residing in Valencia and working in the port.
A surveillance operation in the Port of Valencia, initiated by units similar to those of the Port of Las Palmas, concluded with the arrest of the three individuals who were trying to recover the drug five days after the container had entered Spain.