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Africa & World
Mar 20 2012 3:19PM
 
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The former regional president of Spain's Balearic Islands, a tourist hotspot that includes Majorca and Ibiza, was sentenced to six years' jail Tuesday for corruption.

A court in Palma sentenced Jaume Matas, who ran the regional government from 1996-1999 and 2003-2007, over a case that has also implicated King Juan Carlos' son-in-law, the duke of Palma, Inaki Urdangarin.

Matas, who was also Spain's environment minister from 2000-2003 under the conservative government of then Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, remains free awaiting the result of an appeal.

He was found guilty of fraud, falsifying official documents, embezzlement and trafficking influence, the court said. Matas was found to have used public money to pay a journalist who wrote his speeches.

The sentence concerns only one case in a sprawling corruption scandal which has engulfed the right in the Balearic Islands.

In another case, the king's son-in-law is accused of misappropriating public funds via the Noos Institute, a non-profit institution he presided over from 2004-2006.

The 44-year-old former Olympic handball player, who acquired the title of Duke of Palma when he wed the king's youngest daughter Cristina in 1997, has denied any wrongdoing.

He has been excluded from royal official functions since December and was questioned on February 25 and 26 by the investigating judge in the Palma court, who will later decide whether to launch a trial.  -AFP
 

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