ONE of the biggest players in Marbella’s real estate market, the millionaire British businessman Judah Binstock, has died, aged 88.
Born in the former East Germany, he was said to have grown up in Moscow before becoming a British citizen in the late 1960s.
Arriving in Marbella from the UK in the 80s, he was known for buying up areas of land that had not been allocated for development.
When restrictions on the issuing of licences for property development were tightened by a former mayor of Marbella, Julian Munoz, a number of councillors tried to oust him.
In 2003 The Guardian newspaper in the UK said Binstock was being investigated by Spanish police.
This inquiry was said to have followed a claim by the Spanish daily El Mundo that Binstock had supported the move to oust mayor Julian Munoz.
In the event, the politics of real estate in Marbella achieved national notoriety when the town was revealed to be at the centre of a scandal which ended with multiple convictions in Spain’s largest-ever corruption trial.
In 2013, 53 people were found guilty of offences ranging from real estate fraud to bribery and two former mayors were jailed.
Known as the Malaya case, the cash-for-votes scandal involved urban planning adviser Juan Antonio Roca paying officials to approve planning permits.