Luis Roldán

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Luis Roldán
Toma de posesion del director general de la Guardia Civil. Pool Moncloa. 5 de noviembre de 1986 (cropped).jpeg
Luis Roldán in 1986
Spanish Civil Guard
In office
1986 – December 3, 1993
Personal details
Born Luis Roldán Ibáñez
(1943-08-16) August 16, 1943 (age 74)[1]
Zaragoza, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Political party Socialist Workers' Party
Alma mater UNED (real), University of Saragossa[citation needed]

Luis Roldán Ibáñez (Zaragoza, Spain, August 16, 1943)[1] is a former Spanish Socialist Workers' Party politician known for being the director general of the Spanish Civil Guard when a big scandal of corruption arose in 1993. This case, along with the GAL case, greatly contributed to the defeat of the PSOE in the 1996 general election. Upon initiation of prosecution for his criminal activities, Luis Roldán escaped from Spain in 1994. He surrendered in 1995 at the airport in Bangkok. Between 1996 and 1998 he was tried in a court of Madrid. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison for embezzlement, bribery, tax evasion and fraud, the Supreme Court increased to 31 years. He was from February 1995 in the female prison of Brieva (Ávila) In 2005 he was allowed out of prison to work[2] in an intermediate regime between the second and third degree. [3]

Political career[edit]

He got a BA degree with Political Science and Sociology as majors at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia in early 2000s when serving a sentence for his crimes. But during his time as a PSOE politician and UGT trade-unionist he stated he had gotten a BSc (Industrial Engineering) by the University of Saragossa.[citation needed] Journalist research proved that this degree was a fake.[citation needed]

Between December 29, 1982 and October 31, 1986 he was Chief of the Government in Navarra. Then, he became the first civilian to command the Spanish Civil Guard. Under his direction women were hired for the first time at the Civil Guard.[4] He created in 1991 the Maritime Service of the Civil Guard and enhanced the counterterrorism information services counterterrorism that obtained great success in the infiltration within the ETA band such as the detention of the head of the organization in Bidart on March 29, 1992.


When he was director there were purchased Filipino-made defective bullets of 9 mm Parabellum that damaged military personnel. In 1993 the newspaper Diario 16 published the first suspicions concerning excessive increase of the heritage of Luis Roldán, which eventually led to his dismissal on December 3 of that year. Roldán fled the country in early 1994 when it was discovered that he had used his office to amass a fortune through fradulent means, resulting in the resignation of Interior Minister Antoni Asunción, responsible for monitoring Roldán, as a consequence.[5] During his time missing, Roldán sent letters admitting partial guilt and accusing other Interior Ministry high-ranking members of having received extra money from the fondos reservados (Spanish for reserved funds) theoretically destined to finance the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. Among those he accused was former minister José Luis Corcuera, but also PM González of 'being aware of everything'. Roldán was arrested on February 27, 1995 in Bangkok's Don Muang Airport,[6] amidst claims that Roldán and the Socialist government had reached an agreement in which Roldán would agree to get caught in exchange of him being charged of just two crimes: bribery and embezzlement. These claims came to be known as the "Laos papers", yet the PSOE government refused to recognize their veracity.

Jail and subsequent life[edit]

He was sent to the female prison of Brieva (Ávila in February 1995. In 2005 he was allowed out of prison to work.

Judges have successfully raised 1,646,845 euros in civil procedure seizure of bank accounts and the auction of some of their properties seized in Spain. The bulk of his fortune, equivalent to 10 million euros in 1993, is missing.[7]

On March 19, 2010 he was released from prison after 15 years in jail.[8]

In 2015 writer Fernando Sánchez Dragó published a fictionalized biography of Roldán, with his collaboration.[9]