On Monday September 27 the Malaya corruption case centred on Marbella town hall was brought before the Málaga provincial court. It was over four years ago that the first arrests hit the head lines and in the dock will be 95 people in Spain’s largest corruption case in the history of the nation. Indeed a special annex has been built on to the Palacio de Justicia based on that used in Madrid for the “March 11 2004” terrorism trial.
The man said to be the mastermind behind this massive town planning scam is Juan Antonio Roca. He was the director of planning at Marbella town hall and the prosecution will attempt to prove that mayors, councillors, officials and businessmen were all involved in his web of corruption.
It is estimated by investigators that Roca personally received over 33 million euros between 2002 and 2006 from his illicit deals. He had been in the post since 1992, brought in by the late disgraced mayor Jesús Gil, and was there to his arrest in March 2006.
The 33 million euros is said to have come in payments to Roca from property developers over that four year period. Many of them will be alongside him in the dock. Five million of this total was passed on by Roca to various councillors at Marbella town hall.
Of those said to have benefitted most from his largesse the former mayor, Marisol Yagüe, received 1.8 million euros – the largest amount handed out. Former mayor Julián Muñoz is alleged to have received 162,000 euros whilst the deputy mayors Isabel García Marcos and Carlos Fernández pocketed lesser sums.
However whilst Roca is known to have received 33 million euros from property developers the prosecutor believes he had the opportunity to misappropriate another 200 million euros from1997 to 2005. In reality the true total will probably never be known. He money laundered vast amounts of cash to hide their origin and in the process bought estates, a boat, an aircraft, a helicopter, hotels, houses and works of art.
Missing from the dock will be three people. The aforementioned deputy mayor Carlos Fernández was walking the Camino de Santiago when the first arrests were carried out – and kept on walking. He is said to have entered Argentina on his own passport with Tunisia and Chile as his most likely resting places. Former councillor Francisco Javier Lendínez was last spotted in Tarifa and is believed to have fled to Portugal or Morocco. Finally the more shadowy figures of José Manuel Llorca Rodríguez who is also said to be involved in the Ballena Blanca money laundering case and the Fórum Filatélico stamp investment scam. Nothing is known of his whereabouts.
A quick guide to the story so far:
March 29 2006 – The town hall was raided with 21 people including Roca were arrested.
June 27 2006 – Judge Torres ordered a second wave of arrests with 31 detained.
November 13 2006 – The last major arrests with 11 held including the former wife of Julián Muñoz, Mayte Zaldivar and her brother.
May 1 2007 – Arrest of the famous singer Isabel Pantoja, the former lover of Julián Muñoz who now faces a separate money laundering trial.
March 29 2008 – Judge Pérez releases Roca from jail after two years of preventive detention which caused a huge row as he demands his job back at Marbella town hall.
April 23 2008 – a high court judge reactivates the Saqueo 1 case and sends Roca back to jail.
March 4 2009 – Pérez processes the case against 20 people and enlarges the charges against Roca and Muñoz.
October 15 2009 – The first pre-trial hearings are held.
September 27 2010 – The trial proper starts.