Convictions In Marbella Over Illegal Property Construction

By Editorial 09 October, 2013

A court case in Spain has ended with more than 50 convictions relating to a real-estate scam that saw thousands of investors – including many British expats – tricked into purchasing properties that had been built illegally.

The corruption in Marbella came to light in late 2005, and involved town councillors, city mayors, and the city's planning chief Juan Antonio Roca. Roca, who received an eleven-year sentence, paid councillors to disregard planning requirements when voting on whether to approve building permits, resulting in a construction boom that changed the city's landscape. The originator of the scheme, former mayor Jesús Gil, died before the trial got underway, but two other former mayors were among those convicted.

Up to 30,000 illegal properties were built in Marbella, and the scandal highlighted a more widespread problem on the Costa del Sol. One British couple who moved to Vera ended up living in the garage of their former villa after their GBP350,000 main property was demolished by the authorities, while another couple based in Albox currently has a case to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that Spain's intention to demolish their home breaches the right to property.

However, authorities in Marbella and the regional government of territory of Andalucia have also taken steps to regularize the status of illegal properties by accepting other land in compensation from developers.

Tags: Spain | Expats | Investment | Property Investment | Invest | Investment |


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