AirBnB flat owner in Spain jailed for raping two US renters

BARCELONA (AFP) - A Colombian national was convicted on Friday by a court in Spain to nearly 12 years in prison for raping two American tourists who rented his room through the flat-sharing website AirBnB.

The women, aged 24 and 26, rented the Barcelona room from Colombian owner Pablo Cesar Cordoba Riascos, 34, in October 2011 using AirBnB, a popular site listing private lodgings for rent.

According to a court statement announcing the verdict, the accused accompanied the victims around town, where "they drank very large quantities of alcohol".

After showing his tenants back to the apartment, he took advantage of their inebriation and raped them, the court said.

"The two victims found themselves unable physically to repel the desires of the accused", who was "aware the women were not consenting", the statement said.

It noted the defendant took both photos and videos of the attack.

Upon realising what had occurred the following morning, the two victims filed charges with the police, and after returning to the United States, reported the aggression to AirBnB, which struck the renter from its service.

In response, Cordoba Riascos wrote to the women and threatened to make the photos and videos public if they didn't recant their accusation, but the pair refused to comply.

During a search of the accused's apartment in March 2012, police discovered hundreds of similar photos and footage taken of other young women.

Friday's conviction carried a sentence of 11 years, nine months, and one day in prison for double rape, violation of privacy and proffering threats.