Palma.—Former President of the Balearics Jaume Matas, the ex General Secretary for the regional Partido Popular (PP) Fernando Areal, and the former Balearic Minister for the Interior José María Rodríguez, have been formally implicated in the case of the so-called “Over” corruption scandal.

José María Rodríguez is to make a formal declaration on Monday, 12th November; Matas and his brother-in-law Fernando Areal will be called to account the day after.

In all three cases, the court in Palma confirmed, the men will have to explain their relationships between 2003 and 2007 with the Over Marketing company and its owner, Daniel Mercado, as well as the part they played in the Partido Popular election campaigns in those two years.

Investigators are looking into the contracts that Jaume Matas (in power in the Balearics between 2003 and 2007) took out with Over to the value of 3.5 million euros which should not have been paid with public funds. The works undertaken during the election campaigns were allegedly backed up with false or grossly inflated invoices.

The Public Prosecutor suspects that the “contract” was in reality a way of paying the costs that the Partido Popular ran up during their election campaign with public funds.

A judge in Madrid has said that Daniel Mercado, the head of Over Marketing, a company which has been linked to the Gürtel corruption scandal still under investigation, made an agreement with Matas that part of the payment for the work that Mercado undertook for the Partido Popular election campaign would be paid for in kind with contracts for the public administration.

Mercado has already admitted to the court in a separate hearing in Madrid that some of the costs of the electoral campaign were paid “in black.” Mercado told the judge in Madrid and Public Prosecutor Pedro Horrach here in Palma that the payments which were made “in black” to him were made by Areal and Rodríguez who stepped down last summer as the Central Government delegate in the Balearic Islands after the Over Marketing case came to light.

Mercado admitted that from 2003 to 2007, he benefited from contracts for public works with five regional ministries which were allegedly “put his way” by Jaume Matas.

Last week, State representative on Minorca, Antoni Juaneda, who when in power had connections with Over, resigned as Central Government delegate.

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