Ex-president Jaume Matas is prepared to tell all in exchange for staying out of prison.

14-06-2016Cati Cladera

Jaume Matas, the former president of the Balearics, will avoid going to prison in exchange to confessing to offences and to providing evidence. Specifically, Matas is prepared to tell all in respect of the Palma Arena affair and of the contract for the construction of Son Espases Hospital. In so doing, it is likely that he will reveal evidence that is highly damaging to the Partido Popular nationally.

Matas will still face the possibility of jail for charges he faces in connection with the "caso Nóos", as the trial was heard before an agreement was arrived at with the prosecution service with regard to the other cases.

The current Balearic president, Francina Armengol, has reacted to the report of this agreement by insisting that the government will press for what was defrauded to be returned. The Balearic Attorney has presented a prosecution against Matas on behalf of the regional community.

Armengol says that there appears to be a link between the building of Son Espases and the funding of the Partido Popular. This is something, she believes, that demands explanations from the highest levels of the PP, both nationally and in the Balearics.

"To have an ex-president who publicly confesses that a tender was rigged and was linked to the financing of his party reveals the extent of what happened on this island." She added that this was part of the reason why there has been a loss of trust in the political system and democracy.

In Madrid, political reaction to the agreement struck with the chief anti-corruption prosecutor Pedro Horrach is not in favour of Matas avoiding prison. Margarita Robles, a Congress deputy for PSOE and a former judge at the Supreme Court, says that the prosecution is acting perfectly within the law and notes that what emerges from Matas could well mean that Mariano Rajoy has a great deal to explain: the Son Espases affair goes to the heart of PP party funding.

Juan Pedro Yllanes, the Balearic Congress deputy for Podemos who took a break from being a judge to stand for election (he was originally due to have headed the judge's panel for the Nóos trial), reckons that it would not be good news if Matas didn't go to prison. However, it will be very significant, he believes, if Matas clarifies exactly what happened with Son Espases. "It will be a milestone in the illegal financing of the Partido Popular."

Another Podemos deputy, Ricardo Sixto, thinks it would be "totally unjustified" if Matas escapes jail (he has of course already spent some time inside). José Manuel Villegas of Ciudadanos believes that Matas has an obligation to cooperate with the justice system in any event and so doesn't support such an agreement over political corruption charges.

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