27 Jan, 2012 @ 10:00
1 min read

Lawyers in the dock in Spain

EXCLUSIVE by Wendy Williams

A COUPLE are demanding action after the Malaga Law Society refused to strike off a lawyer who stole 22,000 euros from them.

Australian Aranza Munoz, 44, and her husband Jose Luis, 54, feel ‘betrayed and exploited’ after the regulatory body decided not to take action against Samuel Huesca Triano.

It comes despite the solicitor being jailed for stealing the couple’s money, which had been given to him to pay the tax authorities on their behalf.

Huesca was found guilty of misappropriation of funds and was jailed for two and a half years in 2009.

The money had been given to him to pay tax on a house the couple had bought in Murtas, in Granada’s Lecrin Valley in 2007.

Despite this, the Law Society told the couple it did not believe there were grounds to strike him off.

In a complex legal reply, seen by the Olive Press, it insisted there would be no action. Despite our requests, it has failed to explain why.

It has since emerged that the lawyer – a former PP councillor in Rincon de la Victoria – had been convicted of misappropriating clients’ funds before.

On top of this, he was previously suspended by the Law Society in 2004 over another incident.

“We feel betrayed that the responsibility to regulate a dodgy lawyer has been dumped on us,” said Munoz, who was born in Australia to Spanish parents.

“The Malaga Law Society has clearly washed its hands of it and when he gets out in a few months time he will be able to practice again. We have probably lost 70,000 euros between legal fees, penalties and the money stolen.”

She continued: “How many times is the society going to allow him to steal from his clients before it takes action?

“They should be clamping down on dodgy lawyers as this leads to injustice and is damaging to Spain’s image.”

A spokesman for the society insisted she would be looking into the claims, but failed to get back before deadline.

Eloise Horsfield

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  1. The senior partner of a well-know firm of lawyers in Fuengirola (branch in Marbella)sports a conviction for embezzling clients’ funds. Never hampered his career.

  2. Hi Gresham, Thank you for your comments. I would be very interested to hear more about the lawyer in Fuengirola. We are keen to follow this story so if you, or anyone else, has any more stories about the Malaga Law Society or dodgy lawyers in general, please let me know at [email protected]

  3. Many people will just say ‘how typical of Spain’ but this desrves a real campaign from Olive Tree. The Malaga Law Association can not be allowed to shield proven bent lawyers and I hope that Olive Press will not allow their ‘no comment’ approach to be the end of this.

  4. Malaga Law Society’s refusal to clam down on dodgy lawyers, clearly this can, and has led to, several cases of injustice and hardship for unsuspecting members of the public who have been the victims of dodgy lawyers through no fault of their own. They need to safeguard legal consumers from possible malpractice especially from lawyers’ conduct which is the subject to frequent complaints and criminal charges. Malaga Law Society’s key goals have to be improving consumer protection, and promoting prestige legal competition with in its profession.

  5. There are many good lawyers and judges who are unhappy about the situation too, but dare not raise their voices as it will affect their careers. Could the people affected by corrupt lawyers who had a previous conviction, take legal action somehow, somewhere, against the Malaga Law Society for supporting the corrupt lawyer. Who does the Society have a duty of care to? And don’t just think its expats, many Spanish have been affected too.

  6. ???? Spanish lawyers protecting Spanish lawyers ! someone please put 2 and 2 together ????

    them being Spanish is just an added lawyer value component, apart from that the word “lawyer” says it all.

  7. I hope the Olive Press can follow up on this story and shame some of the local lawyers who owe us ordinary folks lots of money for incompetent work to finally pay up . We are owed 20,000 euros by a lawyer who agreed in writing that he is at fault and its his mistake, agrees he will pay us BUT just never does !!

  8. In the land of systemic corruption you have to be particuarly careful wbout choosing a lawyer. I got a fine for 600 euros for alleged dumping of garden leaves on an empty overgrown plot on our urbanisation courtesy a false complaint made by a spanish neighbour who works for the Marbella ayuntamiento and who no doubt will get a nice bonus now that the monthly bonuses from former ayuntamiento director Rocco are no longer handed out because he’s in prison. I contacted lawbird who told me that they would file an appeal. They told me they had got permission from the Patronato to file an appeal and asked me to pay some 290 euros in fees for the lodging of the appeal. After paying the money I heard nothing more until I enquired as to what was happening. They then told me that they needed my authority to pick up the paperwork from the ayuntamiento which I gave. Then I heard again nothing more. Finally they told me that it was now too late to file an appeal despite the fact that the Patronato had authorised them to so. Anyway I told Lawbird that under EU law I was entitled to a hearing in a court of law. They then told me that they had already prepared the appeal and would lodge it anyway and that I should wait until they had received an answer. Three months later I got a demand for the fine now increased to 760 euros with a warning that my car would be impounded if I did not pay. I contacted Lawbird again and they told me that they had filed the appeal with the guy who had reported me and who works in the Marbella ayuntamiento and gave me his name. Lawbird told me that this guy had not responded to the appeal and there was nothing further that could be done. I am concerned that if you ask a spanish lawyer to file an appeal he files it with the denounciating person rather than with the court but then on reflection I wonder whether this is precisely the way things are done in spain……Anyway Lawbird has stopped replying to my emails and though it seems a bagatelle compared to the massive losses suffered by property victims I still find 760 euros a totally outrageous fine for something I never did. In the country where rubbish is thrown everywhere dumping biodegradable leaves on an overgrown greenfield site would seem to be an extremely minor incident and certainly not an offence. If the spanish can rip off foreigners they will do it by any means. It’s true my neighbour needs a new car and maybe he wants either my car or the downpayment on a new one…as he seems to be judge and jury in the matter. Apparently he works in the cleaning department….

  9. Felix,
    no matter how much you read about corruption in Spain and no matter how much you can empathise with those that have been shafted, when it happens to you personally, then it really hits home.

    This has happened twice to me, once when I nearly got killed out jogging in Galicia by a young woman who was ‘connected’ and was verbally abused by a judge for daring to ask what was happening in my case.

    In Andalucia, where a female judge lambasted two men who I confronted in what could have been a very violent and bloody encounter (but they ran away) only to find 3 months later that I was the guilty party and her reasons were blatant lies, missing evidence, material falsely described.

    If everything comes on top in Spain I shall return – there is an old Gaelic saying – never forget a friend, never forgive an enemy – lots of payback stored up for the future.

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