STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE number of people arrested in connection with Operation Pasarela, the investigation into the alleged misuse of tens of millions of public funds through Ibatur, the Balearic Ministry for Tourism's marketing and promotions wing, rose to 13 although five of those arrested since the operation was launched on Tuesday have been released without charges.

Included in those who have been arrested are the chiefs of Ibatur during the previous Partido Popular legislature under President Jaume Matas, who is also facing court proceedings and a variety of charges.

The five Ibatur employees arrested on Tuesday have since been released after claiming that they were only acting on orders from their superiors.
It is their superiors during the period 2003 to 2007 which have subsequently been arrested as the National Police fraud squad tries to trace at least 20 million euros of public funds here in Majorca and in Madrid where public relations and marketing companies have also been raided.

British travel industry sources said yesterday that this latest alleged case of corruption involving Ibatur has not done much good for the image of the industry in Majorca.

President of the Balearics, Francesc Antich, yesterday called for “prudence” and stressed the importance of the judiciary being allowed to do its job and reach its own conclusions before others begin making there's. He said that his government is cooperating fully with the judiciary in order to resolve the case “that's the best thing we can do”, he said
But, again he apologised for this latest situation and stressed the importance of getting to the bottom of these cases from previous legislatures as quickly as possible so politicians on all sides can set about regaining the public's confidence in government.

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