Juan Antonio Roca, mastermind of Malaya and other fraud cases, is freed

Roca, on Tuesday, on leaving the prisoner resettlement centre in Malaga.
Roca, on Tuesday, on leaving the prisoner resettlement centre in Malaga. / SALVADOR SALAS
  • The ringleader of past municipal corruption in Marbella is to work with prisoners on reintegration programmes and will not have to sleep in prison

Juan Antonio Roca has been released from prison just short of 12 years after he was put behind bars. The man who was behind the corrupt network that siphoned off millions of euros from Marbella town hall coffers over a number of years has been granted the category of a “third grade” prisoner and can leave jail to go to work.

Roca has chalked up prison sentences in numerous corruption-related cases which far exceed 30 years. The biggest sentence was handed down in the Malaya case, whose tribunal agreed in May 2016 to merge some sentences, fixing the maximum period behind bars at 20 years, the legal maximum.

This merging (turning the sentences into one before calculating the proportion of the sentence served) allowed Roca to start to enjoy benefits that otherwise he wouldn't have been entitled to. Since then his privileges have included being allowed to leave prison unsupervised to attend court.

Juan Antonio Roca has exchanged his prison cell for an electronic tag so that his location can be monitored at all times thanks to satellite surveillance. His freedom has been granted after his commitment to working in a social reintegration centre for released prisoners managed by Catholic charity Cáritas in Malaga.

The former head of town planning at Marbella town hall has also been offered paid employment, which he will carry out at the same time as his charity work.

The corruption cases in which Roca had been given prison sentences include 'Saqueo I', 'Saqueo II', 'Minutas', 'Belmonsa', 'Urquía' and 'Malaya', among others. He still has around a hundred cases going through the courts, the majority related to planning crimes which the public prosecutor has refused to include in a global agreement.

On agreeing to 'third grade' status which allows Roca to work outside prison, the judge argued that the proportion of the sentence served, his positive progress, his acknowledgement of the crimes committed through the payment of a civil responsibility bond and his public remorse all worked in his favour. His conduct in prison has also been described as excellent as has his willingness to collaborate with projects.

His commitment to working with Cáritas, said the judge, will “put his knowledge to the service of less fortunate people”.