LEGAL SCANDAL

Málaga City Hall suggests chief justice lied about “official” trip to meet mayor

Officials unwilling to confirm meetings Supreme Court head cited to justify expenses

"The municipality cannot be sure that they took place on the dates"

City Hall sources in Málaga said Tuesday that they cannot be sure that Chief Justice Carlos Dívar met with the mayor on the dates he has cited in order to justify charging his expenses to the judiciary for trips to Marbella.

Officials in Málaga and Marbella, both governed by the Popular Party (PP), were unwilling to confirm to EL PAÍS the reasons for the visits. In explaining why he charged 20 trips taken between 2008 and March of this year to the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) legal watchdog, Dívar said he was on “official business.” The answers given by both municipalities on the issue were vague and ambiguous, and the missing records on Dívar’s supposed meetings with certain officials appear to show that the chief justice used false excuses to defend the 12,996 euros in charges at the taxpayer’s expense.

Dívar, who is also the CGPJ president, told the Attorney General’s Office that his February 3-7, 2011 trip to Marbella, when he stayed in a luxurious hotel in Puerto Banús, was taken to meet with Málaga Mayor Francisco de la Torre to discuss case work in local courts.

“The municipality of Málaga cannot be sure that those meetings took place on the dates that Dívar says they took place,” said sources at the Málaga City Hall. Other sources told EL PAÍS that there are no official records that show the mayor was meeting with the chief justices on any of those dates.

Meanwhile, the PP, which has a majority in Congress, along with support from the Catalan CiU nationalist bloc, rejected a petition presented in the congressional standing committee by the opposition Socialists to call Dívar to give lawmakers an explanation.

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