Thursday, December 8

A judge imputes Colau for the subsidies that the Prosecutor’s Office did not see as criminal

A judge in Barcelona has cited the mayor of the Catalan capital, Ada Colau, as accused of the council’s subsidies to social entities such as the DESC Observatory or the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH). The Prosecutor’s Office already investigated the same subsidies last year and concluded that there was no indication of any crime.

Although the proceedings of the Prosecutor’s Office were archived, any individual or association has the right to also file a complaint with the court. And that is what the Association for Transparency and Democratic Quality did, a group that has already denounced the Colau government for the 2018 multi-consultation, considering that it was revealing secrets due to the use of the register.

As confirmed by the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) after it was advanced the ABC newspaper, Colau is summoned to testify as investigated on March 4 for the alleged crimes of prevarication, contracting fraud, embezzlement, influence peddling and prohibited negotiations with a public official.

The aforementioned association filed the complaint against the mayor last December. The new legal action, in essence, deals with the same facts that the Prosecutor’s Office has already ruled out as a crime: the 3.4 million euros that the Barcelona City Council, according to the complainants, granted to entities such as the Desc Observatory, the PAH, the Alliance against Energy Poverty (APE) and Enginyeria sense Fronteres (ESF). The subsidies were already granted under the mandate of Mayor Xavier Trías (CiU).

The mayor thus sees how a new judicial front is opened for her after most of them were closed in recent months. In addition to shelving the investigation of the subsidies by the Prosecutor’s Office, before the summer the Court of Auditors also shelved Agbar’s complaint against the council for the studies carried out to municipalize the water, which amounted to almost 900,000 euros. The auditing body only agreed to keep the accounting case open for the subsidies from the Barcelona City Council to social entities – without specifying what amount it investigates – and for an aid of 15,000 euros to the promoters of the citizen consultation on the management of the service.

The City Council of Colau has had to face a barrage of complaints for subsidies or for vetoing hotels, although most have been archived. To date, only the aforementioned investigation by the Court of Auditors remains open, while the councilor for Urban Planning, Janet Sanz, is being investigated in court following a lawsuit filed by the London Private Company and the parents from São Paulo for vetoing a luxury hotel in a modernist estate, Casa Buenos Aires. The case is in the final stretch of the investigation and Sanz will ask for the case file.