By Humphrey Carter

THE first day of the Palma Arena hearings involving the former President of the Balearics, Jaume Matas, his wife, brother-in-law and ex-Chairman of Gesa-Endesa in the Balearics, Bartomeu Reus, was adjourned early yesterday after the prosecution unexpectedly presented the judge with a series of phone taps as allegedly new and incriminating evidence.

Matas and his wife, who now live in the United States, her brother Fernando Areal and Bartomeu Reus have all been summoned to answer questions in relation to the construction of the Palma Arena velodrome which went over budget by an estimated 70 million euros during the legislature of Matas.

There are claims, which Matas strongly denies, that part of the money was diverted to the ex-President and a Palma anti-corruption judge wants to know how the former Balearic President could afford luxury apartments in Palma and Madrid and his wife an allegedly expensive lifestyle. The anti-corruption judge also wants Areal and Reus to answer questions regarding their alleged involvement.

All four arrived at the Via Alemania courthouse amidst tight security at 9am to be met by a media frenzy and noisy protesters which the National Police had to keep a close eye on.

However, Fernando Areal was first up before the judge and it was during his hearing that the prosecution unexpectedly presented a series of phone taps which they consider incriminating evidence.

The taps are apparently recordings of conversations between the four being questioned and their lawyers since December last year. As a result, the lawyers representing Matas and Areal called for the hearings to be postponed so they themselves could analyse the allegedly new evidence and consider appealing against the unexpected submission of phone taps.

Matas, his wife and Reus are due to return to court at 9am this morning as the hearings continue.