Two imprisoned and 22 detained over yachting exam fraud

By Manuel Sevilla Moróder
Wed Apr 4 2012, 15:35 PM

Spanish MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa among the arrested

Two men have been jailed and 22 more were detained in Valencia, Spain on Saturday in connection with an alleged fraud during examinations to obtain a recreational skipper license (patron de yate).

The group were arrested after being surprised during the exam. A local government official said that some students had been wired up with earpieces, some even with micro-cameras, to receive the right answers to the exams.

The criminal group was also able to counterfeit ID cards used to impersonate students during tests for a sum apparently between €2,000-€3,000.

Spanish MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa was among those caught using an earpiece and taken in by the local police for questioning about the cheating. "After taking bad advice I have committed an error," the Honda rider said in a statement released through his lawyers on Monday. Pedrosa is not the only known sportsman involved. Angel, a striker in second division football team Elche, was also sitting the exam at the time.

On searching three different locations, the Guardia Civil has found abundant communication electronic equipment, forged documents, inks and pigments.

According to the local justice, those detained face fraud charges. The imprisoned may be charged with criminal band association and public document forgery amongst other offences. They are the owner of Escuela Náutica Valencia (ENV), a boating school with two training centres, and the owner of a printing business under investigation over document falsification.

ENV apparently claimed on its website to be “the nautical school with the largest number of successful candidates…guaranteed!”.