Balearic Islands’ former president found guilty in anti-corruption trial

Jaume Matas, who was regional president of Balearic Islands, became Tuesday the first former autonomic premier and the second former national minister to face a prison sentence. The Provincial Court of Majorca condemned him to 6 years in prison for an offence of management fraud, a crime of falsifying an official document, a crime of commercial document forgery, a crime of malfeasance in competition with an offence of embezzlement and one more count of aggravated influence peddling.

More than two years after the Palma Arena case unfolded and under a bail of €2.5 million, the former leader of the Balearic branch of the People’s Party was judged last January. The anti-corruption prosecutor requested a total of eight and a half years in prison against him, the same penalty as demanded by the autonomous community Advocacy.

During the reading of its final report, prosecutor Pedro Horrach asserted that

“Matas was a great manager, yet not of public money but of his own image.” Horrach told thus sharply Matas’ story and did not hesitate to express his “outrage” to see how “unscrupulous” were the actions of the former president.

The sentence was today met with the official announcement of the future Law on Transparency and Good Governance president Mariano Rajoy intends to present on April 17. In an editorial article, the best-selling Spanish newspaper El País welcomed the move:

“Spain might stop soon being a European anomaly […] the future Law on Transparency and Good Governance would be a major step forward in empowering the Spanish democracy. Along these lines advanced democracies have evolved, too.

“Only a devastating economic crisis and soaring rates of discredited politicians seem to have been able to break the resistance of governments of all colours. All had so far opposed giving citizens the right to access full information about the activity and how they manage the public money entrusted to them.”

El País said in Tuesday’s edition that Spain needs indeed a transparency law to end the corruption culture, and reminded Spanish politicians it is a widespread social demand voiced by the nation-wide 15-M demonstrations.

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