CORRUPTION

"Sorry, dear, but you were paid"

Malaya case linchpin and former mayor of Marbella come to polite blows in court Marisol Yagüe accused of receiving 1.8 million euros in bribes

Marisol Yagüe and Juan Antonio Roca in court on Wednesday.
Marisol Yagüe and Juan Antonio Roca in court on Wednesday.GARCÍA-SANTOS (EL PAÍS)

The alleged mastermind of the Malaya case, a massive real estate corruption racket in Marbella that has netted 95 suspects and been in trial proceedings for more than a year and a half, on Wednesday told the court he had paid bribes to the former mayor of the town, Marisol Yagüe.

Juan Antonio Roca, a former urban planning chief in Marbella, said he had paid Yagüe to keep her political team singing from the same hymn sheet over a motion of censure against former mayor Julián Muñoz in 2003.

"I'm sorry, my dear, but I cannot be in agreement that I did not give you money," Roca said.

"He knows that I love him and that I'd like him to leave jail tomorrow, but he did not give me anything," answered Yagüe, who prosecutors accuse of receiving some 1.8 million euros in bribes. Roca, however, said the real amount was considerably less. Roca earlier admitted to buying winning lottery tickets to avoid paying tax on cash stashed at his home.

Yagüe admitted she had borrowed 9,715 euros from Roca for plastic surgery but later returned it. Prosecutors are seeking 20 years in jail for the former mayor.

The Malaya case broke in 2006 and the sheer number of officials arrested led to a caretaker government being installed in Marbella. The case has seen two former mayors and a host of officials indicted, as well as singer Isabel Pantoja.

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