Judge in double trouble

LAST UPDATED: 27 Feb, 2008 @ 10:57
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Did he plan to extort 8 million euros from a Marbella businessman?

A JUDGE suspended for alleged corruption is being investigated in another money laundering case.

Francisco Javier de Urquia – who is under investigation for his involvement in Marbella’s Operation Malaya – is now facing a probe into his links to Operation Hidalgo.

According to allegations, the Marbella judge may have acted favourably to some of the 23 people so far investigated in the 92-million-euro laundering investigation.

The public prosecutor believes the judge may also have come to certain arrangements with a number of those arrested, including David Shamoon, the owner of hotel Marbella Club.

In one alarming example, judge Antonio Barrosa claims to have uncovered a “perfectly designed plan” in which de Urquia, 29, would have benefitted from the transfer of eight million euros to a Swiss bank account.

The plan was hatched with friend Igor Mier, the owner of Marbella lifestyle magazine Social Life.

A wealthy businessman and one of those investigated in the case, the aim was to free up some of the 520 million euros that have so far been embargoed in the Hidalgo case.

According to prosecutors, Mier approached Shamoon offering to free up some of the 171 million euros that had been embargoed after his arrest.

Telling him it could be all arranged “by some friends in Madrid,” in return, the Lebanese businessman would pay a figure of 8 million euros into a Swiss or Czech bank account.

But Shamoon called in police, who started to tap Mier’s telephone.

According to a source who has seen these transcripts, after a visit to Shamoon’s house in Marbella he sent a text message to de Urquia, insisting everything was “ok.”

“He got a reply with the same word,” the source told the Olive Press.

The 25-page transcript has now been submitted and a trial is being rushed through for April.

“This shows the corruption went right up to the top,” said the source. “I have no doubts that de Urquia was closely involved. It is very shocking.”

The Hidalgo case centers on a close investigation of the funds of the Marbella-based lawyers Cruz Conde.

Boss Rafael Cruz Conde – who was closely linked in many of the transactions – was forced to put up 75 million euros.

In total 632 bank accounts have been frozen, while the investigation continues.

Judge de Urquia has denied the allegations, insisting it is part of a mafia plot to link him to the case.

Under allegations in the Operation Malaya case, he is said to taken money from former Marbella planning svengali Juan Antonio Roca.

He has been accused of receiving payments of 63,000 and 10,800 euros.

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