MADRID (Reuters) - A corruption scandal in Spain involving state-run water contract company Acuamed claimed its first political casualty on Friday as a junior minister from Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria’s office resigned.
Santamaria said Frederico Ramos de Armas had decided to stand down after he was linked to an investigation into Acuamed, which police say had fraudulently allocated building projects and falsified certifications to fatten contractor payments.
Police raided the offices of Acuamed, which comes under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, across Spain on Monday and arrested 13 people. The company’s director resigned the day after.
“(He) handed me his resignation this morning in order to defend his honour and in strict compliance with the law,” Santamaria told a news conference on Friday.
The former environment minister is the latest politician implicated in Spanish corruption scandals linked to how public and private contracts were awarded during the boom years before an economic slump triggered by the 2008 property crash.
The public backlash against such scandals has taken its toll on Spanish politicians, with the traditional parties on the right and left ceding votes in an inconclusive Dec. 20 general election to newer forces campaigning against graft. The country remains without a government as political parties discuss possible coalitions.
Reporting by Jesús Aguado; Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by Paul Day