Spanish police arrest 24 in Valencia corruption raids

Police arrested 24 people, many linked to Spain's ruling People's Party (PP), in raids in the Valencia region on Tuesday in an anti-corruption operation investigating the alleged payment of illegal commissions in exchange for public work contracts.

The arrests, most involving PP members or former members, are the latest in a string of corruption scandals over public contracts awarded during the property boom before the crash in 2008.

Public outrage over corruption has taken its toll on politicians on the traditional left and right who lost votes in the inconclusive Dec. 20 election to new parties which had campaigned against perceived deep-rooted graft.

The operation remains open and is investigating 29 people, including former mayors and members of the regional government, including a former head of the PP in Valencia, a spokeswoman for a regional court said.

The operation, which involved raids on businesses and public offices including the PP regional headquarters, is investigating cases of embezzlement of public funds, influence peddling, bribery and money laundering, according to the spokeswoman.