Matas faces up to 24 years in prison for nine corruption-related offences including embezzlement, peddling of political favours, money-laundering, bribery and falsifying documents.Interesting, so I wondered what, if anything he had done at an EU level.
Matas was environment minister from 2000 to 2003 in then-prime minister Jose Maria Aznar's conservative government.
And what do we find? That he was the President of the EU's Environment Council which pushed through the Kyoto Protocol.
Spanish Minister of Environment Jaume Matas, as President of the Council of Ministers of Environment of the European Union, noted that "the fact that today we can come to the United Nations to announce that the European Union has fulfilled its political commitment regarding the Kyoto Protocol, is not a simple administrative act, nor is it even political. Rather, it is the expression of the conviction of the millions of citizens of the European Union that the Kyoto Protocol is the best instrument available for working together to achieve our common goal, and their commitment to it...Just the sort of chap who you would expect to be forcing through a gigantic fraud.
Minister Matas went on to say that "the European Union's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is a clear indication that, with enough political will and collective social effort, the challenges of our time complex though they may be can be addressed successfully through instruments of multilateral cooperation".
The simultaneous ratification by the EU and its Member States shows once again that the EU is exercising leadership in addressing this global environmental problem. To this effect, the Minister called on "the international community to support a speedy entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, without a doubt one of the most effective instruments in advancing toward the new model of development we all aspire to, a model of sustainable development".