Pedro Román, outside the Marbella courts in a file photo. J-L
When the late Jesús Gil arrived in Marbella as mayor two decades ago he came with his right hand man, Pedro Román, whom he made his deputy. As part of ongoing judicial attempts to recover some of the millions that were filtered out of the municipal coffers during the years that followed, the Sala de Justicia del Tribunal de Cuentas (the state accounts tribunal, which oversees and judges the handling of public funds) has placed embargoes on 41 estates, an aeroplane and a helicopter belonging to a web of firms controlled by Román.
In 2011, the former deputy mayor, along with four former councillors (one of them Julián Muñoz) and the four children of Jesús Gil (as the former mayor’s heirs), was ordered to pay back 66.5 million euros that was transferred without justification from the Town Hall to municipal companies between 1994 and 1999. The sentence added 41.8 million euros to the total to account for interest. While an appeal is still waiting to be heard, the tribunal has placed embargoes on the assets of the defendants as a precaution.
No more than a pension
Until recently, though, the only thing found to be in Pedro Román’s name was his retirement pension. Now, in an order issued in December, the tribunal states that investigations have revealed the existence of assets in the name of firms which, while apparently owned by the former deputy mayor’s relatives, were really controlled by Román himself.
The decision was based on two documents provided by Marbella Town Hall’s legal department: one, a ruling issued by a Madrid court; and the other a report from the tax agency which stresses that Pedro Román’s estate “is shared among all the members of his family but there is a series of evidence and indications that allows us to state that the real ownership” is under the control of Román, “the real brain behind the network of firms and the business carried out by them.”
The estates tied up in this most recent embargo include properties in Marbella, Estepona, Cáceres, Madrid, Salamanca and Ibiza, all of which on paper belong to around ten different companies.
Spokesman for Marbella Town Hall Félix Romero stressed that this embargo on hidden assets could be considered a success on the part of the council’s legal advisors. He pointed out, however, that the value of the assets did not cover the more than 100 million euros the town hall wants to recover.