STAFF REPORTER PALMA

THE Palma-based judge handling the alleged “Opera House” corruption scandal involving ex Balearic President Jaume Matas and architect Santiago Calatrava, has refused to hand the case over to the Balearic High Court and insists on summoning the ex President to a hearing today and for him to pay bail of 1.6 million euros.

The request for the case to be heard in the Balearic High Court was made by lawyers acting on behalf of Matas last Friday. Matas had called for the hearing to be “upgraded” to the Balearic High Court because Francesc Fiol, who was the Partido Popular's regional Culture Minister at the time of the Opera House project seeking parliamentary approval, is a regional MP.

The Public Prosecutor has already made its case against architect Santiago Calatrava for reportedly misusing public funds for the presentation of the Bay of Palma Opera House design.

In a statement made public yesterday, Jose Castro, the judge handling the Palma Arena case for which Matas has already paid a bail fee of 3 million euros, explained that there had as yet been no “formal assessment” of Fiol's declaration of the part he played in the “”Opera House” affair and no “judicial proceedings” have arisen after his declaration was made.

Castro said that although the Public Prosecutor might have made known his intentions to “pursue the matter” after Fiol had made his declaration, no further legal steps have as yet been taken. The judge said that if after Matas pays the 1.6 million euros bail that has been demanded of him whilst the Opera House scandal is being assessed, any wrong-doing on the part of Fiol emerges from further investigation, then the case will go to the High Court.