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.

  • Fact 1 - Marbella is heaven for foodies, with plenty of Michelin stars shining on its eating establishments.
  • Fact 2 - Who used to spend 80 million euros on his summer holidays in Marbella with 3,000 close personal friends? Why, the late king of Saudi Arabia, of course.
  • Fact 3 - A mild climate is one of Marbella's main attractions.
  • Fact 4 - The life of colourful entrepreneur Jesus Gil y Gil seems too far-fetched to have been real.
  • Fact 5 - How a German prince started Marbella's new life as a jetset resort


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