The highlight of the week in the Nóos trial is expected to be on Friday, as Princess Cristina's declaration and questioning have been brought forward to then. Meanwhile, the prosecution service has been considering statements by former Balearic president, Jaume Matas, last week. It doesn't believe that what Matas had to say amounted to repentance for having apparently delegated the processing of contracts for the Instituto Nóos to stage tourism and sport forums in Palma and for which Nóos was paid 2.3 million euros of public money.
Sources from the prosecution service are suggesting that Matas was behaving like an eel in wriggling out of avoiding accepting responsibility for any of the alleged diversion of funds. In this regard, the service argues that Matas has also sought to avoid admitting to the charge of embezzlement that is hanging over him. Despite negotiations with the prosecution in recent weeks, Matas has apparently not provided a full recognition of the facts that might allow some form of pact to be arrived at with the prosecution.
All Matas has done, sources say, is to have admitted to having ordered the contracting of Iñaki Urdangarin to organise the first Balearic Islands Forum, a fact which is insufficient for him to get any reduction in the eleven-year sentence that the prosecution is seeking.
The prosecution is unbending in this regard. It will maintain its sentencing demand if Matas insists in not acknowledging all the charges which he faces and does not return the money taken from public funds. It would accept between seven and eight years for repayment without admitting to embezzlement and so therefore to his role in the contracting of Nóos, while it would reduce the demand to four years in the event that he were to make an admission.
In his declaration to the court Matas said that his administration had been very interested in dealing with Urdangarin and especially the Royal Family. It was for this reason that he gave the instruction to contract Cristina's husband for the organisation of sporting projects. It was a decision, Matas acknowleged, that had led to the current court proceedings. However, he distanced himself from the way in which the contracting was handled, saying that he had failed utterly in what had been a "scandalous" justification and control of expenditure.
The prosection, though, believes that he has tried to wriggle out of incriminating himself, and the chief anti-corruption prosecutor, Pedro Horrach, has pointed to the "orchestrated masquerade" by which Matas made possible the hiring of Urdangarin and the resultant benefits to Urdangarin himself and his former business partner, Diego Torres. Horrach has led the prosecution in charging him with embezzlement, abuse of office and forgery, for which eight years in prison and twenty years of total public-office disqualification are being demanded, and with fraud, which carries three years and ten years' disqualification.
Matas, it is argued, played a decisive role in the fraudulent diversion of 1.2 million euros in respect of the first Balearic Islands Forum (in 2005) and of 1.085 million for the second in 2006. In addition, there were 54,520 euros for arranging sponsorship for the Banesto cycling team, 174,000 euros for creating the office for this team and 116,566 euros for promotional material.
Without exception, four of the five former senior officials who testified last week strongly accused Matas of having been responsible for decisions with regard to the contracting of Nóos.
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