The residents of one of the most exclusive urbanisations along the Costa del Sol..
... reacted with disgust last week when they realised Francisco Correa, the alleged mastermind behind a maze of corruption known as the Gurtel case, had returned to his residence there after being released from jail on bail of €200,000.
The gated Valgrande urbanisation of 165 apartments gets its exclusivity from the nearby Valderrama golf club, which is considered to be one of the ten best golf courses in the world and is the only club in continental Europe to have hosted the Ryder Cup.
The smallest two-bedroom apartment there costs €480,000 while the larger four-bedroom ones cost around €1.2 million.
If residents were judged by their wealth alone Correa would have no problems. He drives a Land Rover Discovery valued at €50,000, and has another residence in the port where his yacht worth €700,000 used to be moored.
However he changed the yacht for a bigger one just a few months before he was arrested just over three years ago and sent the new one to Ceuta where refurbishing yachts is cheaper. He now owes the Ceuta port authority €320,000 for maintaining it while he was in jail. One of his neighbours in Valgrande told a local newspaper: “We’re tired of having to put up with this sinverguenza (scoundrel)”.
The urbanisation’s administrator is also concerned that Correa’s presence is lowering the tone of the neighbourhood.
He was reported as saying “Because one of the residents has done what he did, the remaining 164 owners shouldn’t have to pay for it,”
Although Correa is living there, he can’t sell either of his Sotogrande properties which were embargoed when he went to jail. And one of the staff at the Real Club Maritimo said that “he used to be a member, but we’ve just taken him off the subscription list”.
It’s not as if Correa could keep a low profile either. He has to register at the local police station every day and the sight of him entering and leaving the station is a constant reminder of his presence.