By Jason Moore

THE former Speaker of the Balearic Parliament and leader of the Council of Majorca, Maria Antonia Munar, appeared in court yesterday to answer charges of a mis-use of public funds.

The prosecution is seeking bail of 450'000 euros for Munar along with a civil bail payment of 2.5 million euros. She is accused of electoral fraud, mis-use of funds, and falsifying documents. The prosecution also wants her passport to be withdrawn. A judge was due to rule on the bail petition last night. All the allegations relate to when she was President of the Council of Majorca, three years ago.

Munar had been accused by a former political ally and tourism minister, Miguel Nadal, of giving 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. It is alleged that more than four million euros of public money was diverted into the Video U. production company with the cash allegedly being pocketed by Munar and others.

Munar, who was mobbed by the media when she arrived in court, denied all the charges and attacked Nadal for spreading false allegations.
She resigned as the Speaker of the Balearic parliament last month after she was accused by Nadal of wrong-doing. Munar also said that she was retiring from politics and temporarily suspending her membership of the Majorcan Unionist Party. The former Balearic Parliament Speaker has said that she will fight to clear her name.

Previously when she has appeared in court Munar would arrive in her official car with all the trappings of a senior figure in the Balearic administration. Yesterday, there was none of that. She was driven to the court by her husband and flanked by her lawyer entered the court-room.

Apart from former Balearic leader, Jaume Matas - who is due to appear in court later this month - Munar is the highest profile person to be named in the recent spate of political corruption allegations.