The mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, officially took possession on Tuesday of two rural estates that once belonged to the mastermind of the town's mammoth corruption scandal, Operation Malaya, unmasked over ten years ago.
The large properties, valued at 6.5 million euros in total, were confiscated from former town-planning boss, Juan Antonio Roca, as part of the seizure of his assets by a court.
As the court hasn't managed to find a buyer for them, Marbella council recently got permission to take them over for public use as part payment for the compensation due to be paid into council funds by Roca for the money he embezzled.
The two properties that the mayor has signed the title deeds to are Finca La Caridad, covering 81,000 square metres (20 acres) outside San Pedro, and Finca Siete Corchones covering 123,000 square metres (30 acres) on the road to Istán.
The mayor said, "Marbella has recovered part of what was looted and, for me as mayor, it's very rewarding after years fighting for it."
What use will be made of the sites will depend on local residents' wishes and the opposition PSOE party said this week that, in their view, it was also important to recognise the cross-party support for the campaign to recover the money lost to Roca, as well as the support of local people.
One option being considered for Finca La Caridad, the property valued the most at five million euros and with the best access, is a large sports complex with activities not currently found elsewhere in Marbella.
The keys were handed over in the symbolic surroundings of a hall at Finca La Caridad. Here a wide range of embargoed items are on display for those interested in buying, including antique carriages, paintings and bullfighting memorabilia, all luxury hobbies of Roca who was recently let out of jail on parole having served more than three quarters of his sentence. Items can be viewed on www.ven tadebienesmalaya-roca.com
A helicopter pad near Marbella, once Roca's, is also expected to be given to the council shortly. A large debt, however, is still outstanding.