Jaume Garau, who faces corruption charges. | Archive

The anti-corruption prosecution service has lodged charges of abuse of power/process* and trafficking of influence in respect of contracts awarded by ministries run by Més to the party's former campaign manager, Jaume Garau. The prosecutor has cited Garau; the ex-minister for transparency and culture, Ruth Mateu, who is a member of Més in Minorca; and Pere Muñoz, the director of the Balearic Tourism Agency. Muñoz is the only one of four government officials who is still in office to face criminal proceedings. In addition to Mateu, two others from the transparency and culture ministry - both of whom left their posts when Mateu did - have been cited.

Police reports into the contracts affair allege that there was a breaking-down of contracts in order that they could be awarded on the nod to Garau without the need for calling a tender. Mateu resigned after it became known that her department had granted contracts to Garau companies and for which there were questions of legality. The prosecution service subsequently decided to investigate these contracts.

The departure of Mateu and most of the members of her team at the transparency ministry led to a crisis for the government. Més in Minorca split from the party in Majorca and also ceased to give its explicit support to the government. It felt that Mateu had been hung out to dry and had been burdened with responsibilities that weren't hers. The affair has rumbled on ever since, with Podemos and the Partido Popular both having joined the fray and sought the resignation of Biel Barceló.

Investigations started in April. The contracts in question were with the culture ministry, the environment ministry and the tourism ministry, each of them run by Més.

* The charge is for prevaricación, a Spanish legal term that is often explained as abuse of power or malfeasance. In essence, it means knowingly making an unfair and/or illegal decision.