29 Oct, 2014 @ 11:41
1 min read

Only fit for ‘chicken thieves’


ANYONE involved in a fraud case in Spain will agree with top judge Carlos Lesmes when he says that the current Criminal Procedural Act is only fit for ‘chicken thieves’.

He is right. Spain is, and will be for a long time, the conman’s paradise: boiler rooms are operating off Fuengirola and Torremolinos to perpetrate their disgusting frauds; individuals like Nigel Goldman, Frances Stein or John Doust (all with a criminal past) are free citizens after cheating fellow Brits out of hundreds of thousands of euros; Nigerian scammers raking in millions from their flats in Madrid and Malaga, knowing they will only do two nights in police cells if caught. And so on.

Admittedly, the criminal system is inadequately equipped to deal with major fraudsters, conmen and corrupt politicians. But so are judges, given the selection process that churns out inexperienced 25-year-old judges faced, on arrival in their court, with anything from a rape case to a complex financial dispute.

These young judges have not had their moral solvency, reputation, background or even mental state checked out. As a result, lawyers end up dealing with silly, political or socially-biased, inconsiderate and even corrupt judges.

Strangely though, our system is far more flexible than other EU countries in that the prosecution service does not have the monopoly on criminal prosecution. It is actually possible for a private individual to go ahead with a trial even when the prosecution service drops the charges. In fact, the system has an even rarer case: it allows for a prosecution only at the petition of the plaintiff, i.e. private offences (serious defamation, calumny).

As it is not anticipated that the process of selection and training of judges will change soon, we do hope that chicken-thieves are all jailed quickly so that we can get on with very-damaging white-collar crime.

Antonio Flores (Columnist)

Lawyer Antonio Flores is the legal columnist for the Olive Press. Antonio has been practising law since 1997, year in which he began working for a large law firm in Marbella as a Property Lawyer. In 1998 he left the company he had joined a few months earlier, and used his knowledge and the experience gained to build his own practice. He is known throughout the community as independent, reputable and trustworthy. Through a combination of strong work ethics, determination and international exposure, his competence of Spanish Law is unparalleled and demonstrated through his fluency in English and Spanish.


  1. yone else out there with houseis there any laws in spain that are adhered to? or even understood? im not new to the country and the language is no problem but,and watch out everyone,the letters for a 10 year review of house casteral values are dropping thru the letter boxes now…….i got the letter yesterday..dated september 26th!!!!!!..telling me that we have 15 days to question the details!!….the house size is incorrect and apparently we have been paying IBI rates for 13 years at a higher rate than we should…..and they say we have just built a pool..which has been there for at least 18 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!very backward country.had enough time to go methinks.my family just dont need the worry

  2. Spain needs to sort out its lawyers too of course. Most act with impunity, knowing that they can never be sued. Most were also were implicit in thousands of dodgey property deals back in the boom times, as were their good old friends, the notaries. Until Spain fixes its main institutions, nothing will change. Of course there are honourable people in the industry, but the general impression is bad and it will take Spain a very long time to lose its “wild west” label.

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