Corruption in Mallorca

Corruption scandal surrounding PP in the Balearic Islands

The corruption scandal surrounding the funding of the PP in the Balearic Islands has deepened over the last few days. The anti-corruption judges, Pedro Horrach and Juan Carrau investigating the case allege that public funds were used to pay Nimbus, the advertising agency that ran PP’s publicity campaign in the last general elections. And the former President of the Balear Regional Government, Jaume Matas, is accused of covering up the use of public funds through false invoices to pay for the work carried out by Nimbus.

Pedro Horrach and Juan Carrau believe that they have enough witness statements and documentation to prove that the PP made payments to Nimbus using public money. It is also alleged that Nimbus received payments which were never officially billed.

The case has evolved after it was revealed that the construction of the Palma Arena velodrome cost 111 million euros which is three times the estimated amount that it should have cost.

Documents also show that duplicate bills for services such as cleaning and repairs were used to cover up the syphoning off of money for the funding of the PP’s publicity campaign in the 2007 general elections – the biggest electoral campaign ever launched the Balearic Islands.

Documents show that Nimbus received payment of 2.4 million euros over 3 years for its advertising campaigns on behalf of the regional government of the Balearic Islands under the PP and the presidency of Jaume Matas who now faces nine charges of corruption and up to a maximum prison sentence of 24 years and bail conditions of 3 million euros.

It is alleged that Nimbus received payment of 71,038 euros in illegal payments made by Fernando Areal, the head of the PP in the Balearic Islands and brother in law of the ex president of the Islands.

Jaume Matas and Fernando Areal could both face up to 3 years imprisonment for hiding electoral costs. They both deny these charges although Miguel Romero, the owner of Nimbus, who is also accused of receiving public funds illegally, has recognised in a court of law that such payments were made.

Other allegations against the PP include 12,000 euros paid to the head of the velodrome Jorge Moisés, a former press officer for the PP, for a study that was never carried out.

Jaume Matas who was the Minister for the Environment for the government of the PP from 2001 to 2003 and President of the Balearic Islands from 1996 to 1999 and 2003 to 2007 has been given the cold shoulder by the majority of his former PP colleagues and the only prominent member and ex minister for the PP to publically show his support has been Eduardo Zaplana, former Mayor of Benidorm, President of the Valencian Regional Government and former minister in Aznar’s second term.