Spanish ballad singer Isabel Pantoja was released from the Seville prison where she is serving a two-year sentence for money laundering to begin a four-day furlough on Monday.
The 58-year-old singing star waved to well-wishers as she emerged from the women’s penitentiary in Alcalá de Guadaira. The furlough marks the first temporary release she has been granted since entering the jail on November 21.
The court did not order her to report daily to judicial authorities as she is not considered a flight risk
Prosecutors had recommended the four-day leave, though prison officials had requested the court grant her six days.
Pantoja has been the subject of intense media coverage since she was linked to the Malaya case, a massive real estate and bribery scandal in Marbella. Nearly 100 people were charged in the public corruption investigation, which broke in 2005.
Following a sensational trial, she was convicted of helping her now ex-boyfriend, former Marbella Mayor Julián Muñoz, hide illegal proceeds he received from his covert business dealings
Muñoz, 65, is now serving six-and-a-half years for money-laundering and bribery, while his ex-wife Maite Zaldívar entered Alhaurín de la Torre prison, Málaga province, on October 29 to begin her two-and-a-half-year sentence for also helping launder Muñoz’s money.
The mastermind of the scam, former Marbella urban development official Juan Antonio Roca, is serving an 11-year sentence.
Dressed in a red blouse and white pants, a smiling Pantoja said goodbye to a group of fellow inmates before heading off in a car driven by her younger brother, Agustín.
During her four days of freedom, she has been ordered to sleep at her Cantora estate, near Cádiz, where she will gather with the rest of her family – except for her adopted daughter Isabel, who is participating in a reality TV show. Pantoja will have to report back to the prison at midday on Friday.
The court did not order her to report daily to judicial authorities because she is not considered a flight risk.
“These types of [daily court] appearances only complicate matters, not only for her, but also law enforcement authorities,” said one source, referring to the media coverage.
Pantoja was thrust into the limelight at an early age when she began her stage performances in the 1970s. Her marriage to legendary bullfighter Francisco Rivera Pérez, “Paquirri,” who died in the ring in 1984, was a major media event.
Besides a prison sentence, Pantoja was given a €1.14 million fine, which she was later allowed to pay in installments. Before she entered jail, she handed over €147,000.