Pere Aragonès and the former Minister of Foreign Action Raül Romeva, in a ceremony in Sant Jordi.Marta Pérez / EFE
A new criminal process for the
has just started in Barcelona.
A judge has opened investigation proceedings on
the Catalan Government's
between 2011 and 2017 that served to internationalize the political conflict in Catalonia.
The magistrate investigates a dozen positions and former senior executive officers linked to foreign action;
among them, former councilor Raül Romeva, convicted of a crime of sedition by the 1-O referendum.
The Court of Accounts, which is investigating the patrimonial responsibility of the Government for allocating public funds to "promote the
", transferred it to the Prosecutor's Office, which filed a criminal complaint.
The Constitutional Court supports the conviction of Jordi Turull for "his active participation" in the self-determination referendum
Two magistrates consider that the 12-year sentence for the 1-O referendum was "disproportionate"
The State will defend before the European Justice that the 'procés' ruling respects fundamental rights
The head of the investigating court number 18 in Barcelona, Carmen García, has ruled out some of the facts that the Prosecutor's Office exposes in her complaint, but will investigate eleven allegedly irregular actions. The Department of the Presidency - with competences in foreign matters until 2016 - and later the Department of Foreign Action made contracts and granted subsidies "outside the competences" of the Generalitat and "avoiding public competition". The grants and commissions were awarded "arbitrarily". The Government paid bills without the service being justified; on occasions, it even "mendaciously certified an unrealized provision of services." The total amount is 927,138 euros.
Five of the actions under suspicion have to do with direct subsidies to the Federation of Internationally Recognized Catalan Organizations (FOCIR).
The Government established "absolutely exclusive criteria" with respect to other organizations.
Furthermore, the purposes of these grants "are not clear" and, as the magistrate assumes, they seem more intended to "internationalize the right to decide."
The largest payments come from an agreement between the Generalitat and FOCIR by which the latter entity acted as a “collaborator” to distribute subsidies.
The decision was "arbitrary" and outside the regulations, and also contravened the Finance Law of the Generalitat.
The second major block that is under the magnifying glass of the judge (four actions) is the contracting of "academic papers on matters that are in principle outside the scope of competence" of the Government. All of them were hired
. In some cases, the payments were even "fragmented" to "avoid public attendance," according to the prosecution's complaint. This was the case of a study on “the procedures that a new State must follow to join international organizations”, which studied the cases of Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Kosovo and Montenegro.
A contract entrusted to Salvador Cardús on "instruments of cooperation" between Spain and Catalonia in the case of independence was aimed at creating the so-called "State structures", according to the order of the magistrate, to which EL PAÍS has agreed. In another case, the study was commissioned to a Belgian company "whose data are unknown"; In fact, there is no documentation proving that the work was done.
As the expenses analyzed date back to 2011, the investigation also includes expenses related to the non-binding independence consultation organized by Artur Mas on November 9, 2014. The judge investigates the “fractioned” payments to a company that produced about twenty videos to promote the right to decide; or the trip to Catalonia of eight European parliamentarians that cost 10,000 euros to the public treasury of the Generalitat. The last of the acts analyzed has to do with the hiring, for several months of 2017, of a "
" in Brussels; for the judge, this hiring lacks any justification.
has led to numerous criminal proceedings. The most important, the one that affects the independence leaders who organized the 1-O referendum, has already been judged by the Supreme Court. There is another procedure against high officials of the Government for embezzlement, also closely linked to the expenses of the 2017 consultation declared void by the Constitutional Court. The time period for the investigation into the so-called “foreign action” of the Government is longer (it dates back to 2011). The judge is aware that some facts may have already been addressed in some of the aforementioned cases, so she has agreed to send appeals to various courts “in case some of these facts are already being investigated or have been archived for any reason.
In addition to former councilor Romeva, investigation case 18 is directed against nine other senior officials: Roger Albinyana, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Union (SAEUE); Teresa Prohias, director of Presidency services; Víctor Cullell, director of analysis and prospects of the Presidència; Aleix Villatoro, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Action, Institutional Relations and Transparency; Roser Clavell, Secretary General of Diplocat; Albert Royo, also Secretary General of Diplocat; Manuel José Vila, general director of the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation; Gerard Figueres, president of the Catalan Sports Council; and Antoni Reig, director of the Catalan Sports Council.