Francisco Hernando

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Francisco Hernando Contreras (born June 2, 1945 in Madrid ; † April 3, 2020 there ) was a Spanish building contractor. He was best known for the nine billion euro building of the large Seseña housing estate near Madrid, which remained a ghost town for years. He never learned to read or write.


Hernando grew up in poor circumstances. He was born in a shed in the Tetuán district of Madrid, where he spent the first three years of his life. His father was a sewer worker, his mother gathered in churrerias old cooking oil one, cleaned and sold it. In order to be able to offer his children meat to eat, the father hunted rabbits in the area with a rifle after work. The family had to move out three years later and found accommodation in an uncle's covered courtyard. With his parents and four siblings - another brother died of starvation at the age of six - he lived in 10 m² without a kitchen, where it was unbearably hot in summer and very cold in winter. He started working when he was six. He brought drinking water from a spring to his neighbors and the workers on the construction sites in the area. In his autobiography, Hernando had it written: “We children did not have time to go to school and we were always hungry. Still, I never asked anyone for money. "

Entrepreneurial activity

When he was a little older, he worked with his father at the Urbis construction company and cleaned sewers. He decided early on to become an entrepreneur in order to escape his misery. He saved his money as much as he could, invested in tools and equipment, and started his own sewer cleaning company when he was 17. When the Mercamadrid wholesale market opened in 1982 , he saw an opportunity in the transport sector. He bought a van and delivered the groceries from the wholesale market to customers. Now he began to earn his money "by the basket". He bought four more vehicles and placed himself first among the suppliers. He then expanded his business with the transport of cement in concrete mixers to the various construction sites in the city. In 1965, at the age of 20, he built his first apartment block in the Orcasitas district. His business idea was to buy and use building materials that were left over on other construction sites cheaply.

Residencial Francisco Hernando (2009)

In 1989 he planned his first large housing estate project. 8,000 apartments were to be built. He chose Villaviciosa de Odón , 30 km from Madrid in an area that was designated as an agricultural area. He bought 400,000 km² of land cheaply. In order to get a building permit, he tried to bribe the mayor Felipe Sanz with a blank check . When the latter refused, Hernando threatened him with violence and founded a newspaper in which he accused him of pederasty and supported the opposition. His successor, Pilar Martínez, received death threats. As a result, Hernando was declared an undesirable person in Villaviciosa de Odón. The attempted bribery could not be proven before the anti-corruption court.

Even without this major project, he earned so much building industrial areas and other residential areas in Boadilla del Monte , Alcalá de Henares and Orcasitas that he bought a yacht that was bigger than King Juan Carlos ' "El Fortuna" and himself operated a fleet of private jets, one of which was priced at 47 million euros, which he only bought because it had previously belonged to Bill Gates .

The culmination of his work was to be the mega-settlement Seseña with 13,500 apartments about 40 km south of Madrid, which he called Residencial Francisco Hernando . It should be the largest real estate project in Spain. He bought the land for one euro / m². The first 2000 apartments were inaugurated in September 2007. Due to the real estate crisis in 2008, only a third of the project was implemented. The banks seized the mortgages and the completed apartments had to be sold at a bargain price.

Hernando then withdrew from doing business in Spain and tried his luck in Equatorial Guinea , where he planned to build 36,000 apartments and an industrial area. His company should also build the new capital Oyala . The projects failed after the country's president, Teodoro Obiang , found out about the Seseña disaster. As a result, Hernando sued Obiang before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes for 450 million euros for allegedly already realized investments. The arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of Equatorial Guinea. Hernando could not prove the investment amount.

Hernando died on April 3, 2020 of complications from a coronavirus disease. Shortly before his death, he had a pantheon built in the Boadilla del Monte cemetery in Madrid, where he was buried. He left a tax debt of 93 million euros with the Spanish tax office.

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. Paco el Pocero, dueño de hasta cinco aviones privados y que ha muerto con una gran deuda con Hacienda , April 10, 2020, accessed on July 5, 2020 (Spanish)
  2. Muere de coronavirus Paco el Pocero, el hombre que dio el pelotazo inventando ciudades , April 4, 2020 (Spanish)
  3. El Pocero muere víctima del coronavirus: una vida de las alcantarillas al cielo , April 3, 2020 (Spanish)
  4. The only known investment treaty arbitration against Equatorial Guinea fails on jurisdictional grounds , May 16, 2016, accessed on July 6, 2020 (English)
  5. El Pocero muere víctima del coronavirus: una vida de las alcantarillas al cielo , April 3, 2020 (Spanish)
  6. Paco el Pocero, dueño de hasta cinco aviones privados y que ha muerto con una gran deuda con Hacienda , April 10, 2020, accessed on July 5, 2020 (Spanish)