There was chaos outside Palma’s criminal court as jailed nightclub tycoon Tolo Cursach appeared on bribery and corruption charges.
Hundred of protesters gathered outside the courtroom early on Monday morning to voice their support for the businessman, considered the Godfather of Palma’s club scene.
Armed with horns and whistles they chanted “Freedom” and “We want the truth!”
Leading judge Manuel Penalva entered the courtroom through the back door, arriving inside a camouflaged police car.
The majority of protesters were friends and family of the dozens of suspects embroiled in the Cursach case. Police officers, politicians, and Cursach employees are all facing bribery, corruption, and extortion charges.
Some accused the authorities of trying to cover up their own crimes by stitching up Cursach. The businessman is facing 80 years on a range of charges, also including murder and drug trafficking.
Cursach broke his silence in the courtroom to deny all the charges. He had no knowledge, he said, of alleged drug-fuelled orgies involving senior politicians taking place in his private nightclub.
Cursach also denied communicating with Pilar Carbonell, the former Balearic tourism councillor forced to resign over allegations she favoured his company in public contracts.
Meanwhile doubt has been cast on the story of a key witness. The former brothel madam claimed that Cursach minions offered her a luxury flat in Paris in exchange for her silence. But further investigation uncovered a tangle of lies she had previously told police.