Once-powerful Balearics party leader gets jail term
María Antònia Munar used family ties to help form company which dabbled in television production
María 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, was sentenced on Monday to five years and six months in jail following her conviction on public corruption charges.
In a statement, Munar said she would appeal the conviction because the trial was “plagued with irregularities” and called the jail term handed down by a Palma de Majorca judge “a political sentence that violates constitutional rights.”
Munar was convicted of falsifying documents to obtain some 240,000 euros through a scheme in which a television and radio production company obtained contracts from the Balearic government.
Specifically, Munar helped form the company, which was co-represented by her cousin’s husband. One goal was to obtain a license from the regional government for a local DTT channel.
Munar was head of the Balearic regional parliament from 2003 to 2007. She also served as culture chief, the mayor of Costitx and head of Palma City Hall in coalition governments formed with the Popular Party, the Socialists and the nationalist Socialist Party of Mallorca.
Miquel Nadal, a member of the UM and right-hand man to Munar, also received a two-year, seven-month sentence. Margarita Sotomayor, the former director for public relations at the regional parliament and ex-station manager for the regional channel IB3, who authorized some of the contracts, was given a five-year sentence.
During the trial, which began in early May, business partners Víctor García and Miquel Sard (both related to Nadal’s wife and Munar’s husband) testified that they agreed to list their names as co-owners of the company Video U at Nadal’s behest. Sard, whose own cousin is married to Nadal, admitted that Video U also received money from the Balearics government through fraudulent means to produce a program that was never broadcast.
The UM was closely aligned with the PP, which gave it three seats in the 33-member City Council in Palma. Monday’s convictions were the first in the so-called Operation Make-up case, that includes dozens of public corruption prosecutions of former Balearic Islands public officials and private sector representatives.