Judge sets bail of EUR90,000 for popular Spanish singer Isabel Pantoja

A judge set bail of EUR90,000 (US$122,517) for popular Spanish folk singer Isabel Pantoja in an investigation into alleged corruption and real estate fraud.

Pantoja was arrested at her Marbella home late Wednesday and kept in custody overnight. She is suspected of money laundering, police said. She was brought before court in the town early Thursday but was not questioned until after 1 p.m.

Spanish National Radio and other media outlets cited lawyers for the singer's defense as saying the judge set bail at EUR90,000 (US$122,517). Confirmation from the court was not immediately available.

A lawyer for her defense told reporters Pantoja was "distraught" and "devastated" by her arrest.

Pantoja, 50, is a well-known singer both in Spain and Latin America and a fixture in Spain's gossip magazines and TV shows. She was married to the famous bullfighter Francisco "Paquirri" Rivera who died after being gored in the ring in 1984.

Her current boyfriend, Julian Munoz, a former town major in Marbella, has been in prison since July while waiting for trial accused of bribery in the same case.

At least 98 people have been arrested or questioned in the so-called Malaya Operation.

It centers on allegations that city hall officials or people close to them accepted bribes in exchange for building permits in a town long associated with the Spanish and international jet set.

The case became public last year when Mayor Marisol Yague and 11 others were arrested.

Police then seized, or impounded, more than EUR2.4 billion (US$2.9 billion) in property, including helicopters, thoroughbred horses, artwork and antique guns.

Properties raided as part of the investigation also included a ranch that raised fighting bulls. The mastermind of the fraud scheme is alleged to be Juan Antonio Roca, formerly the city's top urban planning official. He, too, was arrested and is currently in custody.

After the first arrests, the Spanish government took the unprecedented step of dissolving the entire city council and replacing it with a temporary team of managers.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova