THE SPANISH High Court has formerly accused Lars Broberg, the husband of Marbella Mayor Ángeles Muñoz, of belonging to a criminal organisation and laundering the proceeds from drug trafficking. 

But the case against the 80-year-old, who has been living in the city of Marbella for decades, has been halted given his “serious physical and mental deterioration”, according to information published today by Spanish online daily El Diario. 

Lars Broberg and his son, Joakim, were among 71 people who were arrested last year in a massive police operation, which spanned both Spain and Sweden. The investigation, which was dubbed Operación Mueble (Operation Furniture), began in 2018 when Swedish authorities called on the Policia Nacional in Spain to investigate a group of drug traffickers on the Costa del Sol. 

The bust saw the authorities break up the alleged gang, which was exporting large quantities of marijuana and hashish from Andalucía to Sweden and other European countries. 

Broberg senior was arrested in February 2021 and released with no conditions. In July, Joakim was detained in Brazil.  

On September 29, High Court judge Manuel García Castellón recommended that 27 people be tried for offences related to the organisation, including Lars and Mikel. 

Were he to see trial, Lars Broberg would face 14-year jail terms for the two offences of which he is accused. 

But last Thursday, Judge Castellón halted the proceedings against him in response to a request filed by his lawyer. The Swedish national had been called to appear in the High Court in Madrid at the end of September, but upon seeing his health the judge called for a “forensic examination” of the defendant.

The result of that test was that Broberg “is not in a condition to testify” and that this situation is unlikely to improve, according to El Diario. 

The judge ruled that Broberg was aware of the actions under investigation at the time, but that he cannot currently answer to them nor explain himself sufficiently. 

According to the investigating judge’s findings, to which El Diario has had access, Joakim Broberg “was the boss and was in charge of maintaining contact between the suppliers and the clients” of the drugs. The former were located in Morocco, while the latter were in Sweden and other northern European countries. 

The judge found that the organisation had a “complex structure in which there were clear hierarchical and disciplinary relationships”.

The magistrate also detailed that Broberg senior was involved in two operations to mask the origin of the drug money, including the creation of front companies used to make real estate purchases, and the purchase of a large property called El Herrojo. The judge found that just over €2 million had been laundered in the latter dealings. 

When Broberg and his son were first arrested, Marbella Mayor Ángeles Muñoz of the conservative Popular Party claimed that her husband and stepson’s innocence would be proven once the court probe was unsealed. She also claimed that the police operation was an attempt to sully the image of Marbella. 

The case against her husband will not be completely shelved on the basis of his health and it will proceed against the other suspects. Broberg’s defence will have to send monthly reports to the High Court about his condition.

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