PROFILE

The Balearics career politician facing jail over alleged embezzlement of funds

Munar was a central figure in politics on Mallorca from the 1980s until her downfall in 2010

María Antònia Munar, pictured outside a Palma courthouse. / TOLO RAMÓN

Maria Antònia Munar, the former leader of the now-defunct Unió Mallorquina (UM) grouping, who was a central figure in politics on the Balearic island from the 1980s until her downfall in 2010, is currently on trial in Palma de Mallorca for her alleged involvement in diverting public funds to private companies she either part-owned or was linked with.

The trial, which began last month, is the first piece of the legal jigsaw created by the so-called "Make-up case," involving the suspected embezzlement of public money from the Mallorca regional government through grants to companies linked to UM and payments to electoral agents. It is the first of several separate cases open against Munar, for whom anti-corruption prosecutors are seeking a six-year jail term and a 14-year ban from holding public office.

Munar's long political career saw her serve as parliamentary president in the Balearic region, culture chief, the mayor of Costitx and head of the Palma City Council in coalition governments formed with the Popular Party, the Socialists and the nationalist Socialist Party of Mallorca.

Her successor as leader of UM, Miquel Nadal, who served as Munar's vice president at Palma City Hall between 2003 and 2007, faces the same charges and the same prosecutor's petition.

Her successor as leader of hinge party UM also faces the same charges

The case centers on the approval of public contracts worth 240,000 euros to a production company that was fronted by Víctor García, who was married to a cousin of Munar's husband, and Miquel Sard, whose cousin is married to Nadal.

Sard testified that Nadal had handed him 300,000 euros in an envelope to purchase production company Video U. Another witness, Luisa Almiñana, said that UM filled posts at Video U with its members, who turned out to be ghost employees.

Nadal has testified that Munar handed him the money personally, in her official vehicle, to purchase Video U and another audiovisual production company, Bahía Difusión.

The UM's downfall came about when the owners of the production companies, Miquel Oliver, Ramon Rullán and Almiñana, decided to cooperate with investigators.

Prosecutors state that Munar and Nadal "arranged to benefit in an arbitrary manner from

public funds to companies with which they had a long association of ownership, control or connection. They were fully aware of the legal incompatibility and therefore sought a formula [the use of front men] to hide their real participation in the organization."

In total there are 10 defendants in the trial: Munar and Nadal, the three owners of Video U - who will not be handed prison sentences due to their cooperation - and the four front figures, Sard, Alfredo Conde, Elisabet Diéguez and García. Prosecutors are seeking terms of between two years and three months, and three years and three months for the latter four. Munar's former press chief and ex-director of communications at the Palma City Hall, Margarita Sotomayor, also faces a jail term of six years.

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