The Supreme Court on Thursday confirmed jail sentences for the president of Sevilla Football Club, José María del Nido, and the former mayor of Marbella, Julián Muñoz, who is already incarcerated for his role in the Malaya corruption scandal. Del Nido and Muñoz were both handed seven-year terms over the so-called Minutas case, whereby the Marbella municipal authorities were overcharged for services rendered, or that were never provided at all. The sentences, for crimes of embezzlement and perverting the course of justice, cannot be appealed against except via a petition for the protection of the Constitutional Court. However, the Supreme Court threw out a charge of fraud imposed by the Málaga provincial court and reduced the original sentences decided by the lesser court by six months.
Del Nido has remained in his post at Sevilla during the appeal process but will be forced to hand over the reins as he faces the prospect of jail. Del Nido, a lawyer, was contracted to represent Marbella town hall in the Court of Auditors and billed for services that could have been carried out by public servants, according to the Málaga court’s ruling. In total, the court report identifies 79 invoices and four fraudulent payments amounting to 2.86 million euros. Prosecutors said that Del Nido and Muñoz conspired to “fraudulently” take advantage of the disarray at Marbella town hall to “divert public funds.”
Del Nido was also handed a five-and-a-half-year ban from holding public office, half of what Muñoz was handed. His lawyer argued that all the work billed to the Marbella authorities was carried out by his client and that it was not Del Nido’s responsibility to monitor the flow of public funds. “Merely presenting an invoice cannot be considered embezzlement. If the service was not necessary for the town hall, it cannot be considered a cause for indicting the professional.”
The Supreme Court also confirmed sentences of four years for the former Marbella urban planning chief, Juan Antonio Roca, and two years for Del Nido’s ex-wife, Ángeles Carrasco.