Judge bails Malaya mastermind for one million euros

LAST UPDATED: 29 Mar, 2008 @ 11:14
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Juan Antonio RocaPolice warn Roca will flee

THE judge investigating the web of corruption at the town hall of Marbella has granted bail to the man considered to be its mastermind.

Juan Antonio Roca, who amassed a 200-million euro fortune after allegedly awarding building licences in exchange for money, has been on remand since his arrest on March 31, 2006.

Now, magistrate Óscar Pérez will allow him to walk away from jail in Málaga on bail of one million euros.

Fears persist, however, that the former chaffeur turned town planning chief will flee Spain after the state prosecutor claimed he had clandestine bank accounts in tax havens around the globe.

Explaining his decision to give bail, judge Óscar Pérez said: “Disregarding the reasonable suspicion that Roca has hidden funds abroad, he has important financial interests to defend here.

“Furthermore, he has a wife and children and he has always lived in Spain.”

After Roca’s arrest in Operation Malaya, police confiscated original works of art, a helicopter and even a stud farm – all apparently amassed during his time at the town hall of the resort, which is popular with the nouveua riche of northern Europe and Russia.

So far, 86 people, including councillors, constructors and even a former professional footballer, have been arrested during the Malaya investigation.

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