Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Fernando del Valle

23:08 |

Fernando del Valle arrived on the Marbella real estate scene in the late 1970s - early 1980s, after a brief stint practicing law in Madrid. In the coming years Del Valle, an aficionado of fine food and classical music, would become a key player in the booming real estate market in the southern coast of Spain.

According to Per Stangeland, head of criminology at the University of Málaga, in a recent Financial Times article said there is a direct link between the construction sector and real estate with organized crime. Around half of all Spanish real estate promotions are said to be on Spain's Mediterranean coastal areas.

"It is a driving force, perhaps the most important driving force, behind the construction industry ... How else is there to explain that (Málaga), with one of the highest unemployment and lowest incomes in Spain, can sustain a 1,600 per cent growth in the construction of private housing in five years, " said Per Stangeland, according to Financial Times.

Spanish authorities claim that much of Del Valle´s real estate operations were a means to launder cash for up to nine international organized crime groups. In particular, the authorities allege that the Del Valle law firm set up anonymous trusts - possibly hundreds of shell companies - in nearby Gibraltar, but also in other places likes the Netherlands and the Isle of Man

Since news of the operation hit the press, Spanish authorities have increasingly sought to place some of the blame on Gibraltar, which "is not cooperating in the fight against money laundering," according to Conde Pumpido.

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