Palma de Mallorca.—Ex president of the Balearic government, Jaume Matas, top suspect in the so-called Palma Arena corruption scandal, has admitted that a meeting which he supposedly had with the Duke of Palma, Iñaki Urdangarin to approve payments to “Nóos”, a tourism and sports promotional organistion, did not in fact take place.

Matas said that collaborators on promotional projects to raise the profile of the Balearics in the world of sports and tourism would not have met the Duke but added that such arrangements of having “meetings on paper” were “usual practice” as in this instance, the payments related to a privately funded Fundació Illesport (Sports Foundation) scheme .

Matas reportedly defended his position by saying that if someone such as the Duke of Palma wishes to collaborate with a non-profit making organisation, there are several ways the regional government is able to establish agreements without having to hold the issue up for public debate.

Matas said that his collaborators may well have denied that such a meeting took place but reiterated that the Duke of Palma had called for a meeting in which he offered his help for the sports and tourism promotion. Investigating sources are now alleging that 2.3 million euros worth of public money was allocated to the project.

Matas claimed that on no occasion at which he met the Duke was money ever discussed but that he, Matas did agree to accept the Duke's collaboration in promoting the Balearics.

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