The Supreme Court on appeal has reduced the jail sentence of Jaume Matas on corruption offenses to nine-and-a-half months, likely ensuring the former ruling Popular Party premier of the Balearic Islands and central government minister will not spend any time behind bars, according to a ruling made public on Tuesday.
In the case of first offenses in Spain, anyone sentenced to a jail term of under two years does not usually serve time.
In March 2012, a provincial court in Palma de Mallorca sentenced Matas to six years and nine-and-a-half months after finding him guilty of six charges, including fraud, influence peddling, embezzlement, falsifying documents and dereliction of his public duties in connection with the so-called Palma Arena case. King Juan Carlos’s son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, has been indicted in an offshoot of that case.
The Supreme Court overturned all of the convictions except that of influence peddling after confirming Matas had used the authority afforded by his office to secure a public subsidy of 400,000 euros to pay the journalist Antonio Alemany to write his speeches for him. Alemany was also convicted of the same offense.
The Supreme Court overturned all of the convictions except that of influence peddling
The Supreme Court ruled that Alemany had supplied the services he was paid for and argued that the Palma court had failed to prove the other offenses Matas was convicted for.
In its sentence, the Supreme Court said that the “ethically reproachable nature” of the other offenses Matas was accused of did not constitute grounds for a “penal sanction.”
This was the first ruling in a number of cases brought against Matas, who served as premier of the Balearic Islands from 1996 to 1999 and again from 2003 to 2007. He was also environmental minister in the government of Prime Minister José María Aznar from 2000-2003.