June 25, 2008 at 11:01 pm #54109
Following the arrests does anyone know what is happening at this development ?
I understand that the CEO of Valle Romano and a couple of his lawyers were arrested and released on bail
We were told that the development had all the right licences from the Junta as well as the Town Hall
June 27, 2008 at 11:18 pm #84890
Premiership footballers’ Spanish holiday homes face demolition over corruption scandal
An exclusive Spanish development where up to a dozen British celebrities own properties could be bulldozed after being linked in a corruption scandal, it emerged today.
The Valle Romano complex -where leading Premiership stars Paul Robinson, Michael Brown and David Bentley have homes – is being investigated as part of Operation Astapa.
The scandal has so far seen the resignation of the Estepona mayor and 40 arrests, including the boss of Valle Romano Luis Linares.
Problems: England footballers David Bentley, left, and Paul Robinson are said to have bought property on the exclusive Spanish resort
It will come as a massive embarrassment for a number of leading clubs, including Arsenal, Aston Villa and West Ham, who have endorsed the Village development within the Valle Romano project.
If deemed illegal the scheme, which claims to be ‘one of the most sought-after destinations for sports stars around the globe’, could be scrapped and the homes demolished.
Other owners who have recently bought in the upmarket golf development include Irish captain Ian Harte, Real Madrid stars Raul and Roberto Carlos, golfer Seve Ballesteros and Sky Sports presenters Jeff Stelling and Clare Tomlinson.
England goalkeeper Paul Robinson has recently opened his Football Academy within the 300-acre site, that features a sports centre, spa and 18-hole golf course.
Dream home nightmare: The Valle Romano complex in Estepona on the southern coast of Spain
At the launch last year he told a glitzy audience, including Nell McAndrew and Aaron Lennon: ‘The Village is going to be the ultimate place to train and relax, a development I am really excited to be part of.
‘The difference it offers me is the balance between being able to train on one of the football pitches, practice my swing on the golf course and relax by the pool with my family.’
But this might now be a pipe dream after boss Linares was arrested and charged with fraud and the misappropriation of funds.
According to reports, developers behind the scheme were able to have part of the land reclassified after a series of meetings with the mayor.
Linares has been accused of paying a series of cash backhanders and has been bailed for the sum of 500,000 euros.
Owners: Wigan’s Michael Brown, left, and Real Madrid ace Raul
Top lawyers working for him, Armando Pérez and Daniel Delgado, have also been charged with fraud, misuse of funds and influence peddling.
They have been bailed for 100,000 euros each.
The development is one of 30 schemes that has come under close scrutiny since detectives started investigating the town two years ago.
The socialist mayor resigned after being accused of bribary, corruption, money laundering and trafficking of influences.
The doctor, 47, who has been in charge of Estepona since 2001, is said to have overseen a huge ‘Caja B’ – black money system – where developers paid millions for construction licences.
One witness told El Pais newspaper that the mayor travelled around with a flunkey, ‘who was in charge of handling envelopes full of cash’.
The investigation is said to similar to Marbella’s Operation Malaya, in which over 100 people were arrested in a two billion euro scandal.
Affected: Sky Sports presenters Jeff Stelling and Clare Tomlinson
So far dozens of bank accounts have been frozen and up to 50 properties seized.
Among the alleged crimes is the reclassifying of land to be sold off to contacts at below market prices.
It was reported that up to 1500 cases of illegal construcion are currently pending in the town.
The operation was launched by Estepona court in secret in November 2006 and has involved a number of phone taps.
Police are said to have videoed clandestine meetings between the mayor and various businessmen in bars in Puerto Banus over the last year.
If proved true the scheme could be in danger of demolition, according to seasoned financial investigator Gwilym Rhys Jones, who is based in Estepona.
He said: ‘The whole front bench and half the council are accused of taking bribes and backhanders to re-zone land and give permissions.
‘The next logical step is to reverse it all. It happens time and time again down here. And it is not always the higher authorities.
‘If the PP Conservative party gets in next month they will do it all just out of spite.
‘In Marbella 12000 illegal properties are still at risk, with dozens of developments likely to be demolished. It could be the same in Estepona.
‘This could be the kiss of death for Valle Romano.’
June 27, 2008 at 11:21 pm #84891
Paragraphs in bold within the article are photo captions form the original story on the Daily Mail website.
June 28, 2008 at 7:52 am #84892katyBlocked
Those sport celebs were probably given the properties for endorsing the development. Just can’t imagine Ballesteros buying there!
Everyone knew there were allegations of corruption with this project (few years ago). It was ignored by the Junta and other Authorities because the Mayor was a political crony.
During the GIL years in Marbella I remember a scandal when the Junta began criticising Jésus Gil. Gil called a press conference and publically named the people he was bribing in the Junta.
June 28, 2008 at 9:29 am #84893
At least we now know where Gwilym Rhys Jones ended up – he’s a “seasoned financial investigator” in Estepona!
What does it mean – seasoned?
“This season I’m a financial investigator, last season I was impersonating a lawyer”? 😆
I wonder if he kindly returned all that money.
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