Known as the Caso Malaya, it has been Spain’s longest-running town hall political corruption court case, featuring 95 local politicians and their associates in the dock.
Today, over three years after the trial began, Malaga judge Jose Godino delivered his verdicts on the case, which dealt with a network of real-estate fraud and bribery totalling around €690m and dating back to the mid-1990s in the coastal resort of Marbella.
Among Marbella officials accused of the systematic flouting of planning laws that led to relentless property construction were three ex-mayors and some 20 town councillors, along with jewellers, art dealers, lawyers, a German aristocrat and a footballer.
Of those convicted, Marbella urban planning adviser Juan Antonio Roca received the biggest sentence: 11 years for money laundering, bribery and fraud. Ex-footballer Tomas Reñones, who ran the town’s sports department, was sentenced to four years in prison and a €300,000 fine. Of the 95 originally charged, 43 were cleared.
Malaya is seen in Spain as the leading example of town hall corruption and unrestricted speculation in its construction industry which led to a massive property bubble and the subsequent – and ongoing – economic recession.