Corrupted Marbella judge gets two years
A judge who accepted EUR 73,800 from Marbella City Hall aide has been sentenced to jail, barred from the judiciary and ordered to pay a fine.8 August 2008
SEVILLE / GRANADA - A judge who accepted money from the architect of a vast web of corruption in Marbella was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison, barred from the judiciary for 17 years and ordered to pay a fine of EUR 110,000.
Judge Francisco Javier de Urquía, who had presided over Marbella's second court, was found guilty of bribery and dereliction of duty in a case stemming from Operation Malaya, a far-reaching police investigation that led to the arrest of former mayors, councillors and businessmen in the Costa del Sol resort in 2006.
The Andalusian High Court concluded that Urquía had accepted EUR 73,800 from Juan Antonio Roca, an urban planning aide at Marbella City Hall, in exchange for legal favours, including assisting Roca in preventing a local television station from airing a report about his vast - and illicitly earned - wealth.
In the same trial, Roca, who confessed to paying the bribe money "in two envelopes," received a one-year prison sentence and was ordered to pay a fine of EUR 73,800 - the same amount as the bribe.
Prosecutors had originally sought a three-year sentence but lowered their demands to one year in the wake of Roca's surprise confession in July.
Arnaud Fabrice Albouhair, a French associate of the two men who apparently acted as an intermediary in their illicit dealings, was acquitted.
Urquía, who had been struggling financially, accepted the money from Roca as payment toward a house in Marbella. After Roca was taken into custody in March 2006, the judge enlarged his mortgage, changed the payment conditions and reversed his decision to stop the TV documentary from being broadcast in a bid to cover his tracks.
[El Pais / J. M A. / V. C. / Expatica]