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Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 17:24 UK

Spain spy chief quits in cash row

Alberto Saiz on an official visit to Senegal in 2006
Alberto Saiz (right) denies misusing public money

Spain's spy chief has resigned amid allegations that he used taxpayers' money to pay for hunting and fishing trips in exotic locations.

Alberto Saiz, director of the National Intelligence Centre, denies any misuse of government money.

He said he had resigned to prevent further damage to the reputation of the intelligence agency and the government.

Mr Saiz has been replaced by Gen Felix Sanz Roldan, who is a former military chief of staff.

'Without proof'

Mr Saiz was appointed in 2004, shortly after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero first came to office.

Over the past few weeks the Spanish newspaper El Mundo has run a series of articles about Mr Saiz.

It has quoted staff at the National Intelligence Centre who allege that Mr Saiz went hunting and fishing at least six times, in Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Mexico - all at taxpayers' expense.

The newspaper also published a front-page photograph apparently showing Mr Saiz hauling a large fish on to a boat off Senegal.

The paper went on to allege that intelligence agents had doctored one version of the photograph, replacing Mr Saiz's face with that of a colleague.

Mr Saiz has twice appeared before parliament to deny the accusations. He said they were "falsehoods without proof".



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