Pilar Carbonell after her court appearance yesterday. | Alejandro Sepúlveda


The Cursach case could have been expected to have all sorts of twists and turns. The protest on Monday against Judge Manuel Penalva and anti-corruption prosecutor Miguel Ángel Subirán was just one example. Was it a coincidence that it should have taken place when Tolo Cursach was appearing in court for the first time since his arrest?

The case was always going to be murky, and the diet the public is now being fed creates its own murkiness of questionable truths. Much of this surrounds the key witness - Protected Witness 31, the "Madame"; her protected status is such that no one is any doubt as to who she is.

She has suggested that evidence she has given was fabricated and that she was "coerced" by the judge and prosecutor. She has now changed her story and says that she didn't meet a Cursach lawyer, Vicente Campaner, and tell him about this coercion. However, it would seem that she did meet Campaner. There's video footage which shows she did.

Into the story comes a colleague of Subirán's. Prosecutor Juan Carrau requesting that the court leading the Cursach case investigation, Judge Penalva's court, initiated a separate investigation into the witness. Carrau was citing false testimony and false accusation. This centres on her allegation that police officers offered her money on behalf of Cursach to leave Spain. A police report sent to the judge suggests that this allegation was an invention.

The credibility of this witness would now appear to have been shot to pieces. Demands for Penalva and Subirán to be disqualified or even arrested for having supposedly manipulated evidence have been met with a form no from the Balearic High Court. But underlying these developments in the case is a sense that there is other possible manipulation.

Pilar Carbonell, the now ex-director general of tourism, appeared in court yesterday to answer questions about the alleged favouritism she showed to the Cursach Group. In truth, Carbonell is something of a sideshow. She said that she didn't know Tolo Cursach and hadn't even known what he looked like before seeing photos. Cursach himself told the court that he had never met her. The dealings she had were with Tolo Sbert, and she said that she knew him from her time when she was president of the restaurants association within the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations.

She denied that she had sped up a process related to the Cursach MegaPark in Arenal. It didn't take the ten days, as has been alleged. The file for the case was opened on 5 November 2015 and signed off on 18 January 2016.