Palma.—On Tuesday, the former Balearic President and prime suspect, Jaume Matas, denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the issues of payments “is an administrational matter of which I know nothing about...” with regards to the payment of his speech writer and journalist Antonio Alemany in an “irregular fashion.” However, yesterday, the first witness to be called was his former Vice-President and current Partido Popular Euro MP for the Balearics, Rosa Estaras.
She suggested that when it came to payments being made, “the norm” was for the Director of Communications, who was Joan Martorell at the time and one of the six accused in the current case being heard, to act “under the authorisation of the President.” Presumed
That said, as Joan Martorell was not part of her department, she was not in a position to really comment on his activities.
Estaras denied that she had anything to do with hiring the services of Alemany. “It was a decision taken by him (Matas)” she told the court. “We also presumed that the hiring had the approval of the President.” When asked about her relationship with Alemany, Estaras replied that in the period of her four years as Vice-president, she never held a meeting with him and that she was only introduced to him once by Matas as the person who was helping them with the incoming President, Francesc Antich's investiture speech.

With regards to the allegedly irregular payments made to Alemany, Estaras made it quite clear that she had absolutely nothing to do with the suspected scam.

She denied having any involvement in the dealings at all and she went on to stress that once the President had made a decision, it was very rarely, if ever, questioned, suggesting that the buck stopped at the top. “Why would I question Matas? “What is more, press and public relations was an area directly controlled by the President,” Estaras added.
Crime Squad “A large section of society knew Alemany was writing Matas's speeches,” she said.
Estaras was not the only witness called yesterday.
Along with two members of the Crime Squad, the co-owner of the publicity company Nimbus and an employee were also in court. It was revealed Alemany was apparently paid commissions for securing government contracts for Nimbus.

But, the payment of commissions was described as a perfectly normal practice in the world of publicity and advertising.
The focal point of the case is the construction of the Palma Arena velodrome. The project cost almost double the initial estimate and prosecutors believe that the Palma Arena was used as a “cash cow” by Matas to allegedly pay political favours and other alleged cases of wrongdoing.

This is just the first of a number of cases which the prosecution has brought against Matas over charges of fraud, misuse of public funds and bribery and so far, all of the six accused in this case, including Matas, have proclaimed their innocence.

But, if found guilty, the former President and Spanish government Minister for the Environment, could face an eight and a half year sentence and a lengthy ban from public office.

Antonio Alemany could be facing a five year sentence and Joan Martorell, a two-year, six month sentence. The case continues this morning with more witnesses called to appear.


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