Pepe Tirado of Acotur at the courts in Palma.

12-05-2017Alejandro Sepúlveda

Pepe Tirado, the president of the Acotur association for tourist services businesses, was arrested by the National Police on Thursday as part of the investigation into Grupo Cursach. Accused of various crimes - extortion, forgery and obstructing the course of justice - Tirado was detained overnight and appeared in court yesterday before Judge Manuel Penalva, who had ordered his arrest. He is the judge investigating police corruption in Palma; Tolo Cursach was arrested in March as a consequence of this investigation in an operation dubbed Sancus.

The judge and anti-corruption prosecutor Miguel Ángel Subirán are looking at links between Acotur and Grupo Cursach. It is suspected that Acotur had been acting under the orders of Tolo Cursach and that the association had harassed establishments that were rivals to those of Cursach in both Palma and Calvia (Magalluf). Penalva, it is understood, believes that Acotur doesn't act in the general interest of businesses but chiefly in benefiting the interests of Grupo Cursach

Penalva also suspects that Acotur has been financed by Grupo Cursach, while he has been given witness statements which have alluded to threats made by Tirado. One witness who complained to Tirado about harassment by Cursach was supposedly told: "This is Syria and there are going to be shots. If I were you, I'd go." Another witness has referred to Tirado's "high standard of living".

Tirado said that he derived his income from his position with Acotur and from a family business. Among allegations made against him are ones that he demanded payment from businesses or else there would be campaigns of harassment directed at them. Prosecutor Subirán requested that he should he held in prison, and the judge agreed with this.

The court appearance had to be stopped for a time because the information systems shut down. It has been said that this was a breakdown related to the massive cyber attack yesterday on internal systems, such as Telefonica's, although it has also been suggested that the ministry of justice ordered a shutdown as a precautionary measure.