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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Juan Antonio Roca, the ex Municipal Real Estate Assessor, at the centre of the allegations, has moved on to the most interesting phase

Juan Antonio Roca - EFE archiveJuan Antonio Roca - EFE archive
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The Malaya case investigating the widespread corruption in Marbella Town Hall, and with Juan Antonio Roca, the ex Municipal Real Estate Assessor, at the centre of the allegations, has moved on to the most interesting phase, as the Málaga court starts to investigate the bribes.

On Monday, some five years and seven months after his arrest, Roca has had to start to respond to the big questions at the centre of the case, the backhanders he allegedly received from real estate promoters in exchange for licences to build outside the PGOU urban plan. More than 50 people including ex Mayors and Roca himself are expected to declare in this section of the case.

The court considers that Roca was paid by 19 different companies between 2001 and 2006, a total of 33.3 million €. Among the big payers were Carlos Sánchez and Andres Liétor – 6.8 million, José Avila Rojas – five million, and the directors of Aifos – 4.8 million.

The Córdoba promoter Sandokán, who is now a councillor in the city, allegedly handed over 600,000 in exchange for town planning favours.

The prosecutor claims that despite not being elected, a politician or even a civil servant, Roca was the man who was running Marbella Town Hall following the motion of no confidence passed in August 2003 against the then Mayor, Julian Muñoz. Roca’s power, lubricated by bags of cash, saw all the councilors act as his subordinates.

Key to the prosecution’s case are a series of files found at the lawyers offices, Maras Asesores. The business was controlled by Roca and councilors and businessmen often met in their offices. Police found some files, in the power of Salvador Gardoqui, which are considered to be Roca’s secret accounts, showing the entry and exit of money, with the real estate section of the accounts showing a surplus of more than 17 million €.

In the court on Monday another one of the accused, Eusabio Sierra, admitted, following a plea bargain with the Anti-corruption Prosecutor, that he paid a 60,000 € backhander to Roca to speed up the Town Hall’s payment of a debt. His two year prison threat has now been reduced to six months as a result, which means he will escape jail by paying a fine.

The basis of Roca’s statement to the court today was that he was not in control of the Town Hall and that the now late Mayor, Jesús Gil decided absolutely everything, ‘above all in the areas of work, the economy and real estate’. Asked by the Prosecutor what his relationship was with the Marbella Town Hall, he replied that it was always via municipal companies.

However Roca did admit paying local councilors for their votes in the motion of no confidence against Julián Muñoz, and admitted to the judge that he was paid more than 3.5 million € in backhanders, which he described as ‘advice payments’ for projects developed in the town. He admitted that Construcciones Salamanca 740,000 € and said that Aifos, whose bosses are also on the accused bench, paid as much as 1.8 million €. He said that the accounting of Maras Asesores, was correct, and admitted that was the company he used to try and hide all his finances.


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