In the absence of just over 24 hours for the expiration of the period that the Court of Auditors has given to thirty independence leaders to deposit their bail, the Catalan Government still does not find any entity that wants to endorse these former high-ranking officials. The Minister for the Economy, Jaume Giró, announced on Tuesday that none of the country’s large entities has lent themselves that money despite having the backing of the Catalan Executive.
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The Ministry of Economy devised a mechanism at the beginning of the month, called the Complementary Risk Fund, with an endowment of 10 million euros to protect these senior officials. This body, supported by the Catalan Institute of Finance (ICF), gives guarantees to financial institutions so that they can endorse these former Catalan positions. All the large banks, however, have slammed this initiative of the Government due to the risks of the operation despite the fact that the Generalitat insists that there is no “legal or commercial” risk.
Giró has blamed the refusals of the banks for the short term that the Generalitat has had – 15 days ago that the decree was approved – and the lack of the opinion of the Council of Statutory Guarantees, which has until July 29 to pronounce on if this measure conforms to the Statute and the Constitution. “There has been a lot of media noise since the day the decree was approved,” added the minister.
The Government prepared an alternative for a situation like the current one, which consisted of the ICF itself directly endorsing the independence positions. Giró has announced, however, that the Catalan executive will not use this route due to the risk of actions against the workers of this entity. “I have decided not to submit any of the ICF professionals to carry out an operation that, if we take into account the precedents, would cause anguish and concern for both them and their families,” explained the minister.
Faced with this situation and the urgency to find an alternative – the deadline expires at 12 pm on Wednesday – the Catalan Executive trusts the so-called “solidarity fund” whose funds are fed by donations from individuals, pro-independence entities and parties. “The entities and the parties are working to cover the amount,” Giró said, who has not ruled out that a bank will finally be found that wants to support the operation.
July 21 is the deadline for thirty former high-ranking officials of the Catalan Government – including former presidents Carles Puigdemont and Artur Mas – to deposit the payment of 5.4 million euros as bail before the Court of Auditors. According to this entity, the amount corresponds to alleged undue expenses in the Government’s foreign action between 2011 and 2017.