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Marbella - Fascinating Fact 4

Jesus Gil a colourful character

Former mayor of Marbella, Jesus Gil y Gil was a business tycoon (construction) and controversial chairman of Atletico Madrid football club. A man of brusque character and extremely right-wing views, Gil encouraged wealthy British, Russian and Italian criminals to come and live in Marbella in the 1970s and 80s. Although it is well known that he was corrupt, he was also very well-connected (then-resident Sean Connery supported his political campaigns) and many credit him with making Marbella the hugely successful high-end resort it is today (albeit now, thankfully, violence-free). One of his protégés (and his successor as mayor) was Julian Muñoz, former lover of Isabel Pantoja, the singer who is rarely out of the corazon (gossip mags), and both are among those who have been dogged by accusations relating to the continuing infamous Marbella corruption case (Operacion Malaya). Gil himself died in 2004, thus avoiding prison, but his legacy continues.