Showing posts with label offered his much-awaited version of the saga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label offered his much-awaited version of the saga. Show all posts

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

alleged mastermind of the money-for-votes system, the

last week.

Cool and composed, the stout man with greying sideburns known at the town hall as "the Boss" or "JR", after the character on the television show Dallas, denied accusations that he amassed his €2.4bn fortune in kickbacks and shady property deals. He carried out his case projecting documents from his laptop to a courthouse screen.

On Thursday, he denied police and media depictions of his ostentatious wealth, which allegedly included vintage cars, 275 paintings, a bull ranch, 100 purebred Andalusian horses and a mansion decorated with stuffed lions, giraffes and other wild game. Mr Roca reportedly sold much of his estate to pay legal fees and debts. "They've portrayed me as an eccentric guy without scruples who kills animals, cuts their heads off and hangs them out to dry," Mr Roca said. He even addressed the butt of many jokes in Spain: a supposed painting by Miró that police found hanging above his steamy spa bath. It was only a copy, he told the court.

The trial is the most visible sign of the crackdown against corruption in the country's freewheeling coastal towns; common wisdom is that political corruption in the Costa del Sol is as inevitable as sunburn or a pesky insect that the justice system swats half-heartedly but mostly ignores.

One of the defendants is the former Marbella police chief and another is a judge found guilty in 2008 of taking bribes from Mr Roca. Since the Marbella arrests in 2006, police have launched smaller-scale corruption investigations in the resort towns of Mallorca and Valencia and in the Canary Islands.

Local environmentalists, among the lone voices against Marbella's unchecked building spree, hope the trial deters future graft, but they do not expect much to change. Nearly all of the 18,500 homes built with illegal permits have been "normalised" in exchange fees or donated land from their developers, said Javier de Luis, president of the Marbella branch of the national environmental group, Ecologists in Action. He does not expect to see most of the prominent defendants behind bars. "They've hired the best law firms in Spain – they'll eat the prosecution with potatoes," he said. "The damage that they caused with this development barbarity wouldn't be cured with a trial." The case continues.:Text may be subject to copyright.This blog does not claim copyright to any such text. Copyright remains with the original copyright holder.

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