STAFF REPORTER PALMA

THE Public Prosecution Service in the Balearics yesterday presented a demand for 1.6 million euros bail from ex Balearic President Jaume Matas in relation to charges of misappropriation of public funds.

Matas, already having paid a bail of 3 million euros and awaiting trial for his part in a corruption scandal related to the Palma Arena, is now being accused of having spent almost 132'000 euros during his term of office as Balearic President on the presentation of a Palma Opera House project which never materialised.

An anti-corruption court is currently examining a design by architect Santiago Calatrava for a miniature of the Opera House which had been spectacularly landscaped for building in the Bay of Palma, a project commissioned by the ex President.

The blueprint presentation was never in fact made because with just a month to go before the next regional elections to be held in May 2007, the opposition Socialists had blocked the possibility of the project being tabled in Parliament. However, minor contracts related to the micro-scale presentation did in fact go ahead, and the amounts built up. There was for example, more than 11'900 euros paid for the special transfer of a spherical structure from London; 10'960 euros for the erection and dismantling of a tent, and another 9'035 euros for a presentation tent. The total of these eventually pointless “mini-contracts” finally reached just under 132'000 euros.

The Public Prosecution said yesterday that “not one” of these contracts was in the public interest and related purely to “personal gain.” A spokesman said that the ex President had at the time been fully aware of the practical and economic impossibility of his own project.

In September 2007, the architect Santiago Calatrava who had been paid 1.2 million euros for a model presentation that never materialised asked the government for the return of his miniature design but he was refused. The Balearic government said that they had already paid for the intellectual property of the design.