Dark shadow of corruption haunts Marbella mayor

by Lorraine Williamson
Marbella mayor

MARBELLA – It is getting darker over the head of Ángeles Muñoz, the mayor of Marbella. Publications of old e-mails, details from a major lawsuit against a Swedish drug organisation and a huge fortune are the cause of this.

ElDiario.es revealed on October 23 the news about Angeles Muñoz’s stepson and multi-millionaire husband. They were being prosecuted for alleged membership in a Swedish criminal drug organisation and money laundering. Since then, more and more compromising details about the massive case have emerged. 

Angeles Muñoz, has held sway over the southern Spanish resort since 2007, but with a break from 2015 to 2017. She is also a senator of the Partido Popular. But with all this, she has been linked to corruption. However, Muñoz herself continues to emphasise that the prosecution of her Swedish husband and stepson in the national court has no connection with the city council or with herself as mayor. 

Husband subpoenaed 

Meanwhile, a national court judge (Audiencia Nacional) has summoned her husband, the Swede Lars Gunnar Broberg, for a court hearing. Like his son, Joakim, he is suspected of being actively involved in the money laundering activities of the Swedish Mocro Mafia. 

The main argument for suspecting Broberg senior´s involvement, the newspaper Nius has confirmed, is a recording of a telephone conversation between him and his son. In it, the mayor of Marbella´s husband warns his son “that the phones he uses are tapped by the police”. According to the detectives, the recording “gives an idea of ​​the high-level contacts within the judiciary and police that Lars Broberg would have to know such facts.” 

Another remarkable fact caught the attention of the detectives, writes Nius.es. Both father and son subsequently started using secure mobile phone numbers registered in Estonia. Furthermore, Lars Broberg’s device regularly recorded his wife, the mayor´s voice. “Usually the person who comes on the phone is his wife, Ángeles Muños,” the study said. This led the judicial police to confirm that both the mayor and her husband were aware Joakim Broberg, one of the prime suspects in the case, was using “security phones”. 

Stepson is the mastermind behind the criminal organisation 

The alleged mastermind behind that criminal organisation is Joakim, Broberg’s son and stepson of the mayor. The organisation is suspected of transporting large quantities of narcotics from Morocco via Spain. Then from Spain to the Scandinavian countries, but mainly Sweden. Joakim is said to have put some of his 19 companies into the service of money laundering. These are mainly related to real estate. He and his father could have participated in at least two money laundering operations. 

Stepson took advantage of close ties with the mayor 

In the words of Judge Manuel García Castellón, Joakim “facilitated meetings with people who hold public functions or influence certain officials.” His close ties to Marbella’s mayor would have served him well. He used it for personal gain. The police bases that on the intercepted calls.

Joakim’s father, Lars was arrested in February 2021. However, he was released without action as he was not on the crime register and because of his advanced age and frail health. Moreover, at that time, his son Joakim Broberg was wanted internationally. Then, in July the son was arrested in Brazil. 

Start research 

The investigation in Spain into the corridors of the Brobergs and the Swedish drug organisation began in January 2018. It was then when the Spanish National Court received a letter of request from the Swedish authorities. The criminal organisation turned out to have the Costa del Sol as its base. In addition, Angeles Muñoz’s husband and stepson allegedly turn out to be part of it. This became apparent after months of intensive working days in which the officers shadowed the suspected criminals day and night. They were completely unaware they were being watched and tapped, and that their banking and commercial transactions were being analysed. The smallest details were scrutinised to find out how this alleged criminal network worked, what roles its members played. And, most importantly, what their next steps would be. 

Based on the investigation, the police eventually arrested 71 people in February. 32 of them have now been charged. The trial took place from 14 to 22 November. 

Lars Broberg’s company was used as a cover 

The office of Wasa Consulting, Lars Broberg’s company in a shopping centre in Nueva Andalucia (Marbella) was used by his son Joakim Broberg as a cover for several real estate deals in the money laundering network. These were homes in the most exclusive areas of the Costa del Sol. According to reports from elDiario.es, the criminal case shows that the complex organisation focused on the construction and sale of luxury homes laundered a total of €7,300,820 through four operations. Broberg senior also participated in some of these. 

Right hand of Joakim Broberg

An Egyptian acted as the right hand of the Marbella mayor´s stepson. He was used as a figurehead and partner to launder €250,000 through the purchase of properties for restaurants on the Plaza de Toros and other real estate investments that laundered €1.5 million. 

Baycrest Wealth

Money and goods to the value of €55 million seized 

In the large-scale investigation under the name operation ‘Mueble Candinav’, 30 works of art, 1.7 tons of hashish, 500 kilos of marijuana, 55,000 opioid units, 23 kilos of amphetamines, 20 firearms, €500,000 in cash, €1.8 million in bank accounts in tax havens, bitcoins worth €15,000, 3 boats, 15 luxury watches, 64 homes and 30 cars seized. Another 23 other luxury cars were seized. The total volume of money and goods is €55 million. 

Removals company 

It also became clear that the Swedish removals company Roslagen Europa Transport, with offices in San Pedro and Alicante, transported drugs from Spain to Sweden. In addition, the police investigate a series of shootings and murders in connection with this operation. 

Related post: Marbella rocked by two shootings in 24 hours

Contact with one of Sweden’s most dangerous criminals 

Among those arrested was Chiab Lamouri, a Stockholm drug lord who is considered one of Sweden’s most dangerous criminals. In September 2018, undercover police witnessed three Swedish citizens with a marginal record landing at El Prat Airport in Barcelona. There they met with Joakim Broberg. One of them was Chihab Lamouri who employed teenage soldiers for the drug trade and is credited with more than three murders. Moreover, he is currently serving a sentence in Sweden. 

A police officer and former mayor’s bodyguard 

Among the accused is also a local police officer from Marbella. According to the indictment, this information intended for the police would have been passed on to Joakim Broberg in exchange for money. That police officer was previously part of the team of bodyguards for the mayor of Marbella. 

Political persecution 

The more details come out, the deeper the mayor of the municipality gets into trouble. However, Angeles Muñoz insists she had nothing to do with it. She claims that it is a persecution of her person by her political opponents. After all, the next local elections of May 2023 are fast approaching. 

Increase of assets

A week ago, the newspaper El País published that Angeles Muñoz updated her statement of assets to the Senate after her husband and stepson were prosecuted. A PP alderman then reported that the mayor has gone from 50% ownership of three companies to 100% ownership. She has also done the same with a house in Sweden acquired in 2005 that has become her own. 

In her previous declaration in 2019, she indicated that she only owned half of the property. The senator’s assets and income statement include other data that she did report in 2019. The bottom line, according to elDiario.es, is that the mayor of Marbella has amassed more than €12 million in assets after three decades in politics. 

Notarial request from Marbella mayor

On Tuesday, elDiario.es reported having received a notarised request from Angeles Muñoz in the capacity of representative of the Municipality of Marbella. This demands that the newspaper provide all published emails that served as the basis for the compromising reporting and reveal its sources. In addition, the mayor requested the newspaper to remove all information published so far based on those emails. If elDiario.es does not comply with the request, an indictment for disclosure of secrets is imminent. The newspaper writes in a response that “no matter how much she threatens, the mayor is not going to silence us”. 

Who is Marbella mayor Angeles Munoz?

Born in Córdoba and a doctor by profession, Ángeles Muñoz has been involved in politics since 1995. That is the year in which she started working as Deputy Mayor of the Municipal Council of Benahavís. This is the wealthiest municipality in the province of Málaga and which borders Marbella. Before that, Muñoz worked as a doctor at Carlos Haya Hospital. Furthermore, for at least seven years in the Marbella town of San Pedro Alcántara. 

A year after she leapt into politics, Muñoz was elected PP deputy in Andalucia Parliament. And in 1997, she was appointed General Director of Migration Management at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. 

Muñoz was elected in 2003 as a municipal councillor in the last phase of power of Grupo Independiente Liberal (GIL). This was led by the infamous Jesus Gil. GIL had a succession of mayors until 2006: Julián Muñoz, Marisol Yagüe and Tomás Reñones. The government eventually dissolved the municipality after the massive Malaya corruption scandal. 

Muñoz became Marbella mayor in 2007. She has remained in office ever since, except for a break between 2015 and 2017. Then, the PSOE reached the governing plush thanks to a coalition agreement with three other political parties (IU, Costas del Sol sí se Puede and Opción Sampedreña). After a motion of censure, the Partido Popular regained the mayorship of the southern Spanish seaside resort in 2017. 

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