Probably the largest corruption case in Spain, the Malaya corruption and bribery case, has exposed many irregularities and illegal transactions that have rocked the property and construction industry.
This week builder Fidel San Roman shocked the courts with his admission that he had, between February and December 2005, paid Juan Antonio Roca, former town planning chief, more than 3 million euros in exchange for occupancy licences.
“When the homes were ready to be handed over to the buyers, the Town Hall told us that the money was needed, and if it wasn’t paid, things could not move forward,” he explained.
The backhanders, the prosecutor argued, were paid in “white money” taken from several of his companies. Ramon ratified each payment in detail.
The claims contradict statements from Roca that the payments were in fact made for ‘advisory work’ and had nothing to do with building or occupancy licences.
Roman rejects these claims insisting his business had never paid for advisors. Furthermore, the developer is claiming he was the victim of blackmail.
“Not paying would have been business suicide” he said, accepting he knew his actions were illegal, but that he did not have any other option.
Roman now faces up to nine years in prison and fines up to 48 million euros if found guilt of bribery and money laundering. Roca, meanwhile, is facing 30 years in prison and a fine of over 800 million euros.