Stamp Duty
The Spanish Cabinet yesterday approved legal changes to make banks, rather than borrowers, pay a controversial tax associated with home purchases, and to ensure lenders cant deduct this cost on their tax returns.
The decree comes a day after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced measures to guarantee that “Spaniards will never again pay this tax.” With the move, the government overrides the Supreme Court’s recent decision to make clients pay the fee.
At a news conference following yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister María Jesús Montero said that these fast-track reforms are justified due to the “confusion” created by the Supreme Court.
The finance minister said the government is not eliminating the tax altogether, as the opposition PP has suggested doing, because it represents around €2 billion in annual revenue for regional authorities.

An investigation by the High Court into the sale of defense equipment to Saudi Arabia has confirmed the payment of bribes and illegal commissions by the public company Defex in 11 contracts signed between 2005 and 2013 worth a combined €48 million.
Defex, which is 51% state-owned has been under scrutiny since 2014, when the Civil Guard uncovered suspect sale of police equipment to Angola.
The scandal brought down Defex, which is currently in liquidation. Its top officials are under investigation for keeping up “a systematic criminal behavior pattern” for over two decades.

Drug Death
The National Police force has arrested two men who allegedly allowed their partner to die while they were diving for bales of cocaine off the coast.
The man’s body was found after ten days of intensive searching in September in the Getares area of Algeciras.
On the night of September 18, the skipper of a boat alerted authorities that he had lost track of a diver.
Police opened an investigation, taking statements from his companions .. they allege that the divers were recovering bales of cocaine that had been dropped offshore .. a common delivery method in the waters around Algeciras.
Police said they were highly-qualified divers with equipment valued at more than €20,000.
The two men have been detained in police custody awaiting a court appearance.

two people, including a child were reported injured this morning after a driver lost control of his vehicle and drove it onto a pavement in Barcelona colliding with several parked motorcycles.
Police have cordoned off the area, diverting traffic from the scene.
Seven ambulances were called and according to the the municipal police two people were injured in the incident.
Barcelona-based newspaper El Periodico however reports that there were four people injured, including a 10-year-old girl, who was rushed to hospital in a serious condition. It was apparently some sort of “indisposition” that caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle.