Spain’s biggest ever corruption trial gets under way

Spain’s biggest ever corruption trial kicked off yesterday morning as 95 people accused of involvement in a network of graft in the glitzy southern resort town of Marbella began to appear in court, ‘The Guardian’ reported. Two former mayors, 15 town councillors and numerous lawyers and businessmen are accused of running the town on a cash-for-votes system operated at town hall meetings. Between them they allegedly took EUR 670 Min bribes and from municipal funds over three years.

The alleged Mr Big who ran Marbella from his private offices for more than a decade, Juan Antonio Roca, faces fines totalling some EUR 800 M and 35 years in prison sentences. Mayors Julian Munoz and Marisol Yague are among those said to have been on Roca’s payroll, which extended across parties and covered more than half of the town’s councillors. These were allegedly paid for each vote at which they approved planning permits or contracts to run municipal services such as the coach station or the town’s breakdown lorries. As a result, planning laws were widely flouted while the once-charming Mediterranean beach resort was carpeted with concrete.

“I don’t sign a piece of paper, or even read one if I don’t get money,” deputy mayoress Isabel Garcia Marcos was caught saying on one phone-tap. Police found EUR 378,000 in 500 notes at her home.

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