STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
EX regional MP for the Majorcan Unionist Party (UM), Bartomeu Vicens went to prison in Palma yesterday for three years, the first Balearic MP to be sentenced to time behind bars for corruption.

The official jailing of Vicens, ex spokesman for the UM in the Balearic parliament and an ex Territory Department chief on the Council of Majorca took place yesterday after the Balearic High Court signed his internment papers in what has become known as the “Son Oms” case.

The court upheld its case against Vicens with proof that during the term of office of the previous Balearic government, the Council of Majorca - then led by the UM and Partido Popular (PP) - paid 12'200 euros to Vicens' accountant for a report copied illegally from the internet on the value of land on Majorca. It was a labour which was of no service to the public interest, and which the acccountant performed “free” for Vicens.

And so as well as spending 3 years in prison, the Balearic High Court has sentenced Vicens to six years of being unable to hold public office due to the misappropriation of public funds and, running concurrently, to seven years of being unable to hold public office for perverting the course of justice.

Vicens arrived at the High Court at around 11.30am accompanied by his lawyer Eduardo Valdivia, although he was not driven to prison until 1pm.
During that time, Vicens' wife and another of his lawyers, Jaime Campaner also arrived at the Court, bearing a suitcase with personal effects, ready in the event of Vicens being sent directly to jail. Once the Court - which hears both civil and criminal cases - had decreed that Vicens should go to jail for three years, he was taken to waiting police car and taken to Palma prison.

Vicens therefore becomes the first (ex) Balearic MP to go to prison after being found guilty in a corruption case, although there are already other Balearic politicians in Palma prison sentenced for misappropriation of public funds.

These people include the ex Partido Popular Mayor of Andratx, Eugenio Hidalgo who was found guilty of town planning corruption in the so-called “Andratx” case, along with his colleague Jaume Massot, an ex Territory director for the Balearic government.

In the same prison in Palma is Javier Rodrigo de Santos, sentenced for abusing minors. His original sentence of 13 and a half years has been reduced to 5, and he is serving a separate sentence of two years in jail for misappropriation of public funds.

Meanwhile, yesterday's hearing fined Vicens' accountant Tomas Martin for the part he played in the Son Oms scandal but absolved ex Council of Majorca director Damia Nicolau who had commissioned the report from Martin, because there wasn't sufficient proof that Nicolau was aware of the illegalities that Martin was entering with Vicens.

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