ación, en 2008.

Jaume Garau, an expert on the workings of the EU and its funding in particular.

04-05-2017R.L.

Companies of which Jaume Garau is the administrator have billed some seven million euros for more than 290 projects since 2008. Garau has been suspended from Més because of the contracts awarded to his companies by ministries controlled by the party and also by Antoni Noguera's department at Palma town hall: Noguera is a member of Més. Many of these contracts are now under police investigation.

Garau's two companies - Regio Plus Consulting and Consultores de Políticas Comunitarias - have been the vehicles for the various projects. Garau has been hired in many instances because of his expertise in European Union operations, in particular the EU's funds.

In 2015, the companies invoiced over one million euros. Last year, they took in almost three-quarters of a million, a sum vastly in excess of the combined totals of contracts with the regional government and Palma. Garau's work goes well beyond Majorca.

Ever since the contracts' affair blew up, it has been clear that Garau's abilities have not been in question. Political parties of different complexion agree on this. He does bring success, and one has been the obtaining of 12.7 million euros of European funding for the Ponent project in Palma: this funding will be spread over six years.

His knowledge of the workings of the EU stem from a time when he worked in Brussels and helped with Malta's entry into the EU. Professionally, he is a doctor of economics, and his companies have worked on behalf of various governments and institutions with different political backgrounds. It is well known that he worked for the PP government of José Ramón Bauzá. Senior officials from that administration confirm that his hiring was successful. The fact that he was from the PSM (Majorca Socialists, part of Més) was irrelevant. He was able to obtain more financial assistance from Brussels than the administration had hoped for.

It is the suspicion that he has been favoured by Més that has led to his suspension and to the police investigation. And the current government is said to have awarded over 3,500 contracts of the "hand-picked" variety, which is how Garau's contracts have been described. This is 40% greater than with the Bauzá regime.

The regional environment ministry has, meanwhile, corrected a report which claimed that Garau has a contract with Semilla, a company within the ministry and one where Garau's ex-wife works. Minister Vicenç Vidal says that there is no contract between Semilla and either of Garau's two companies, but confirms that there is one with Fogaiba, the ministry's guarantee fund. This, adds Vidal, is a minor contract for which the best proposal was selected and is totally legal.

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