STAFF REPORTER PALMA

FORMER Balearic President Gabriel Cañellas (1983-1995) said yesterday in Court in Palma that he was not guilty as charged of misuse of public funds.
The ex centre right Partido Popular (PP) leader said that there was no “irregularity” in his handling of a Balearic Islands Foundation deal in which, as the Foundation's Chief Executive, he had ceded an historic property in Sant Elm to Andratx Town Council in exchange for a certain sum of money.

Just how this money was spent is the subject of current investigation.
Cañellas claimed yesterday that his declaration to the Court had been “quite normal.” He had reportedly taken the opportunity to defend the reputation of the Balearic Islands Foundation. “There's no mystery about it,” declared Cañellas. “And there's no problem with it because the accounting system is completely above board.”

“The Chief Executive is nothing else other than a figure head for actions decided by the Foundation members,” Cañellas pointed out, adding that he had given plenty of details to the Court. He said though that he had no idea about the internal workings of Andratx Town Council.

The implication of Cañellas in the alleged misappropriation of public funds whilst he headed the Foundation resulted from a legal complaint made against the former Mayor of Andratx, Eugenio Hidalgo. The investigation was then extended to implicate Cañellas. Hidalgo is now in jail for the part he played in an Andratx town planning scandal.

Cañellas was forced to resign in 1995 after it was proved that the Soller Tunnel construction company gave 50 million pesetas to the PP to front election campaigns.