Saturday, 19 July 2014

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Named 'businessman of the year', José Mestre headed Barcelona's biggest port container operator before being charged with smuggling 186 kilos (410lb) of cocaine.

Named 'businessman of the year', José Mestre headed Barcelona's biggest port container operator before being charged with smuggling 186 kilos (410lb) of cocaine. The Local looks at his fall from grace and takes a sneak peek at his impressive mansion, Barcelona's most expensive.

Fifty-seven-year-old Mestre was once the toast of the town, his company Tercat managing two container terminals at Barcelona’s busy port.

In June 2010, just months after receiving the accolade, Mestre was arrested after Catalan police found 186 kilograms camouflaged in one of his scrap metal containers, Spanish national daily El País reported.

Police surveillance found Mestre had been holding talks with an international drug ring for several months.

Four years on, Spain’s High Court found him guilty of drug trafficking, sentencing him to 12 years in prison and slapping him with a €14.6 million ($19.76 million) fine.

As the tycoon turned drug villain is not yet behind bars, he’s taken the time to try to sell off one of his most prized possessions: a 2,500sqm (27,000 square feet) property described as “an architectural jewel from the 1920s”.

The money raised via the sale will be used to pay off Mestre's obligations, including mortgages he holds with banks.      

Spain’s biggest home sale and rental website Idealista has posted an ad for the opulent property, located in Barcelona’s Pedralbes neighbourhood,The €30 million mansion is split into two buildings, which have a wine cellar, gym, garage with space for 12 vehicles, pool, nine bedrooms, seven bathrooms and even a watchtower.

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