The former head of planning assessment & management for the Marbella district council, Juan Antonio Roca, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison and a €240 million fine for his part in the corruption scandal that took place at the height of the Spanish property boom.
He was judged to have presided over a ‘system of widespread corruption’ during his time in office in the 1990s and 2000s that eventually led to the breakdown and dissolution of the local government.
The prosecution had been pushing for a 30 year sentence for Mr Roca but the eventual 11 year sentence was handed down for fraud, bribery and money laundering. Mr Roca was one of 52 people convicted, out of the total 95 accused, in connection with the ‘Malaya case’, the name given to the case involving those that were accused in connection with the Marbella corruption scandal.
Upon sentencing Roca the judge told the court that “businessmen covertly paid bribes in cash to Mr Roca who, being neither Mayor, councillor nor linked to any political party, was then able to pay off various councillors in return for political favours relating to planning approvals and construction licences.”
While using this technique to control the urbanization of Marbella, Roca was also involved in the running of many companies benefiting from the scam and thus was able to profit hugely from the operation as a whole. In this way his fortune increased from €37million in 1996 to €101 million just a decade later.
Other high-profile figures sentenced along with Roca included two former Mayors of Marbella.