Soller, Mallorca. | Ultima Hora

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A Russian billionaire has been jailed for 12 months for building unlicensed properties on protected land in Soller.

In 2013, the Guardia Civil discovered that a porch and garage attached to the main building had been converted and extended by 15 m2; the second floor had been extended by 45 m2; an old warehouse had been replaced with a brand new construction; an 80 m2 porch and kitchen had been built and roads on the property had been modified without planning permission.

The defendant argued that he took advice from an expert who assured him that everything was above board and that the building permits were in order. He also insisted that he did not live on the property, only visited it occasionally and had delegated all planning permission issues because he couldn’t speak Spanish.

"It is striking that it has not been possible to determine who the builder was," said the judge. "It is evident that the accused is not telling the truth and is trying to excuse himself with the fact that he does not know the Spanish language. The defendant has the means to ensure how things should be been done and he did not do it; he carried out works without the appropriate licence and without an architect, which implies that he knew that he could not do it and carried out the work without the appropriate licence.»

The defendant can appeal the sentence before the High Court.

The court has ordered that all of the unlicensed work carried out on the protected land be demolished.