Palma.—The highest sentence was handed down to the former Partido Popular President of the Balearics, Jaume Matas, who was given a six year sentence after being found guilty by the Palma High Court of allegedly falsifying official documents, falsifying trading documents, embezzlement and for abusing his position of power.

The sentence was two and half years less than the prosecution was after and Matas's lawyer said that his client will lodge an immediate appeal against the sentence.

This first hearing was part of a total 25 separate cases which make up the investigation into why the construction of the Palma Arena velodrome during Matas's legislature cost twice as much to build as initially budgeted.

For the past few years, the anti-fraud prosecution has been on a paper trail of the nearly 42 million euros the project went over budget and, the investigation has even reached the royal family with the Duke of Palma, Iñaki Urdangarin, having been implicated in possible wrong doing. Accusations he strongly denied during a Palma court hearing last month.

Sentences were also handed out for journalist and Matas's former script writer, Antonio Alemany.
He was sentenced to three years and nine months for perverting the course of justice, falsifying official documents, abusing his position, falsifying trading documents and embezzlement.

He too is expected to launch an appeal, although the prosecution was after a sentence of more than seven years for the journalist.
Matas's former Director of Communications, Joan Martorell, received a sentence of a 18 months, the prosecution wanted 24. He was found guilty of having apparently perverted the course of justice, falsified official documents and embezzlement.

Finally, the Director of the public relations company Nimbus, Miguel Romero, was sentenced to one year, one month and 15 days for falsifying documents, administrational fraud and perverting the course of justice.

The prosecution was seeking a sentence of over four years, but that was significantly reduced yesterday.
The fifth person in court yesterday was Maria Umbert, Matas's former press officer.
She was released without sentence. Matas, Alemany, Martorell and Romero have also been asked to pay a collective fine of 13'316 euros as compensation to the Balearic community while Alemany and Martorell will also have to pay the Public Administration 11'550 euros.

Matas was also fined 11.170 euros and Alemany 6'000.
This whole case hinged on the allegedly irregular payments of 483'186 euros made by Matas's' government to Alemany.
This first hearing took two months to resolve, so it is going to take years to get to the bottom of the Palma Arena's missing millions.


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