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By Jason Moore

FORMER tourism minister, Francesc Buils, was arrested yesterday as police continue their investigation into alleged political corruption in the Balearics.

A second person, leading local television entrepreneur, Jacinto Farrus, was also detained.
Buils was Balearic minister for tourism from 2007 to October 2008, when he was replaced by Miguel Nadal who has also been arrested and is under investigation for alleged political corruption. Buils´ arrest brings to seven the number of high-level officials from the Majorcan Unionist Party who have been detained by police on corruption charges.

Balearic leader Francesc Antich said that the latest arrests were “worrying” but said that it was best not to make any further comments until the police have completed their investigation. The leader of the opposition Partido Popular in the Balearic parliament, Francesc Fiol, said that these cases of alleged political corruption were showing the Balearics in a very poor light.

The police yesterday carried out a number of raids on offices across the island as part of their investigation.
Jacinto Farrus is the owner of the Channel 4 TV station which has the concession to supply news to the IB3 Balearic television station.
Before taking up his post as Balearic Minister for tourism, Buils, was the head of tourism on the Council of Majorca. He is a political ally of Maria Antonia Munar, the former leader of the Majorcan Unionist Party who resigned as Speaker of the Balearic Parliament last month after Miguel Nadal, the former tourism minister, said that she had given him 300'000 euros in cash in an official car to buy a stake in a TV production company which is now at the centre of a police investigation into the mis-use of public funds. Munar is due to appear in court this week to answer some of the charges.

The Majorcan Unionist Party have been dogged by alleged political corruption charges over the last few months. They were expelled from the ruling Balearic government coalition by Antich over the corruption allegations. Most of the charges relate to when the Unionists were in charge of the Council of Majorca when they were in coalition with the Partido Popular Balearic government of Jaume Matas. Matas is due to appear in court later this month to answer charges that the budget for the Palma Arena velodrome was inflated and public funds mis-used.

Political commentators say that the fraud and mis-use of public funds allegations in the Balearics are doing little for politics on the island and there are fears that there will be a low turn-out in the next local elections, due to take place next year.

However, there is a still a possibility that Balearic leader Francesc Antich will have to call early elections because his government is in a minority (since he expelled the Majorcan Unionists) and the opposition Partido Popular, who have the most number of MPs in the local parliament, have threatened to introduce a vote of no confidence.