Palma.—The former President Jaume Matas, and his script writer Antonio Alemany, were sentenced to six and three years, nine months respectively on Tuesday.

Matas is facing jail for corruption.
Matas, who previously held the position of environment minister in Aznar's government, was given the six-year sentence for apparently using public money to pay journalist Alemany who wrote articles praising him, the court said.

The verdict is part of the wider 90 million euro Palma Arena velodrome scandal that has also seen the king's son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke of Palma testify in court in Palma last month.

Fraud
Matas, a member of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Partido Popular, was convicted of fraud, falsifying official documents, embezzlement and influence peddling.

However both he and Alemany have been released pending an appeal. The case is one of 26 to have emerged from the investigation into the Palma Arena affair and Matas has been indicted in a number of the pending cases.

Worrying news
The anti-corruption prosecutors do not believe that there is any danger of Matas or Alemany trying to flee the country because they need to retain their image intact, hence neither of their passports have been withdrawn for the time being. But, while Matas continues to enjoy his freedom his former lawyer, Rafael Perera, said yesterday that he considers it “extremely difficult” that the Supreme Court will accept Matas's appeal to over turn the ruling.

Perera said that the case against Matas and the sentence were “well constructed and well argued” and he does not see the Supreme Court being convinced by the arguments against the six year jail term.

Perera also advised all those other potential suspects who have been questioned as part of the Palma Arena affair to carefully read the small print of the sentences handed out this week and he named the Duke of Palma as one of the people who should pay close attention to the legal developments of the past 48 hours.

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