Drug money fuelled property boom

March 1, 2008

cocaine.jpgA shocking new report from the US State Department says black money from the drugs trade was responsible for fuelling Spain’s decade-long property boom. The State Department report dedicates a whole chapter to Spain where, it says, corrupt local councils have turned a blond eye to where the money was coming from to fuel the massive construction projects bringing wealth to their towns. The report does acknowledge however, that the prosecutor’s office is taking action and makes mention of the fact that more than 20 corruption cases are being investigated in Malaga province alone.

Thirty per cent of the €500 notes in circulation in Europe are in Spain which, the report claims is directly linked to the purchase of property to launder drug money. It describes Spain as the grand European centre for money laundering and the front door for the entry of illegal drugs into Europe. It has been known for sometime that Spain has a growing drug problem and the report claims the country is now the biggest market for illegal narcotics in Europe with 20 per cent of Europe’s cocaine users living in the country.

The report says three per cent of Spaniards take cocaine regularly but notes that the Spanish authorities are taking a firm line against the drug trade and said there is a high level of cooperation between the drug enforcement agencies in both countries.