THE former head of planning in Palma Council, Javier Rodrigo de Santos, who is at the centre of a political scandal surrounding his use of a council credit card in various gay bars, will appear before a court in Palma next month charged with misappropriating public funds. The Public Prosecutor said yesterday that they would not be seeking a jail term initially for the former leading politician.

De Santos, who has been suspended from the PP, checked himself into a Madrid detoxification clinic on Friday after admitting he had a drug habit, has been called before Palma Court No. 5 at 10.30am on April 11.

The anticorruption prosecutor brought the case against de Santos after it was discovered he had allegedly spent 50'000 euros in various gay bars with the credit card belonging to EMOP, the publicly owned company responsible for public works.

Suspicions arose when auditors discovered irregular payments had been made with the card. In many cases, the actual payment did not tally with that described by the councillor and were made at odd times in the middle of the night. The Mayor Aina Calvo was informed and passed the findings on to the public prosecutor. De Santos returned the money to the council on Friday and, at first, blamed what had happened on health problems. Later he admitted that he had a drug addiction. The PP has since suspended de Santos.

Catalina Cirer, who was the Mayor of Palma when the events occurred, has said that she could not have been aware of all de Santos' movements as “she was not his mother”. She has also blamed the council's control mechanisms for failing to pick up on the irregularities.

Meanwhile, the PP spokesman in the council, Rafael Durán, has attacked Calvo and the Socialists for adopting a holier than thou approach to the matter. The Socialists say they held off on announcing the details of the case until after the election. But Durán said they are trying to create an aura of sainthood around themselves.