Saturday, May 28

The guarantees of the Court of Accounts: 2.8 million to Mas and Mas-Colell and almost two million to Junqueras and Puigdemont

The Court of Auditors has transferred this Tuesday to 41 former senior officials and officials of the Catalan Administration between 2011 and 2017 the provisional liquidation act with the money allegedly diverted to the process through the Catalan delegations abroad and the Council of the Public Diplomacy of Catalonia (Diplocat). The highest supervisory body of the State provisionally claims 2.8 million from the former president Artur Mas and the former Minister of Economy Andreu Mas-Colell and almost two million euros from Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras, legal sources inform

Aragonès calls on the Government to stop the “irregular” actions of the Court of Accounts

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In total, the Court of Auditors figures at 5.4 million the money allegedly diverted to promote independence abroad by Mas, Puigdemont, Junqueras, five former councilors, nine former secretaries, six auditors, 17 former delegates in various countries and one MEP. In the cases in which it places several former senior officials as responsible for the same alleged irregular expense, the responsibility is joint, so if any of the denounced does not have money or properties to face their deposit, others of those involved they will have to take care of him. The Court of Auditors claims the highest bonds from Mas Colell, 2,803,656 euros; Artur Mas, 2,787,2826; and Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras, 1,981,454 euros.

These amounts, related to alleged diversions of funds used in trips, contracts and delegations of the Generalitat abroad, appear in the Provisional Settlement Act that the highest state inspection body has transferred this Tuesday to the defenses of those involved. The lawyers now have three hours to examine the documentation and then they can make the allegations they deem appropriate in defense of their rights, as reported by the Court of Auditors. From there, the defendants will have a few days to deposit those funds and thus guarantee that they can face a possible conviction. If they don’t, they could have their accounts and property repossessed.

The liquidation file is part of the investigation of the proceedings opened as a result of a report of the Court of April 2019 that concluded that the Generalitat delegations abroad spent at least 27.2 million euros on activities without being possible to know the purpose and justification of the entire budget.

The highest supervisory body made this report after requesting it from the Mixed Commission (Congress-Senate) for relations with the Court of Accounts which, at the request of the PP and with the support of the PSOE and Citizens, asked to clarify whether the funds allocated to the action Catalan exteriors had been used “in accordance with the principles of economy, effectiveness and efficiency”. In these investigations, in addition to those involved, there are the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Attorney’s Office, who seek the restitution of the public money that the Generalitat de Catalunya supposedly used for the external promotion of the procés; and the Catalan Lawyers for the Constitution and Catalan Civil Society entities, as a public action.

After the pardons to the independence prisoners, the actions of the Court of Accounts now focus the attention of the Catalan Government and the whole of sovereignty. And, especially, this procedure, which is the most controversial because the supervisory body interprets that a good part of the Government’s external expenditures since 2011 were made to promote independence and that this would be an irregular diversion of public funds.

Thus, the file implies charges that had left the Government in the legislature of Carles Puigdemont, such as former minister Mas-Colell, who has become one of the public faces of the protest against these actions. Last week, a group of internationally renowned economists, with 33 Nobel Laureates in Economics and twenty other prominent academics, published a joint article in the newspaper El País to show their support for Mas-Colell, who in addition to being a former Catalan minister is a prestigious professor of economics.

The president of the Generalitat Pere Aragonès called on the Government on Friday to stop the actions of the Court of Accounts, which in his opinion are “full of irregularities”. In his opinion, the organization “threatens the economic ruin and civil death of dozens of people” and intends to continue the “repression” that has been paralyzed in other areas and to do so “beyond its functions.” Aragonès also stressed that the Court of Accounts is a “politicized” institution, controlled by people “close to the PP” and “highly ideological.” The Minister of Transport, José Luís Ábalos, also referred to the report, who assured that the actions of the Court of Accounts “put stones” in the path of dialogue, which is why it was necessary to “unblock it.”

This procedure is the same one that was followed in his day against the former president of the Generalitat Artur Mas, who was considered the most responsible for the expenses of the sovereign consultation of November 9, 2014, which amounted to almost five million euros and who had to respond in solidarity with the bonds of the rest of those involved. And it concurs in parallel to that of 1-O, more advanced, and in which the Court of Auditors imposed a bond of 4.1 million euros on Puigdemont, Junqueras and 26 other people – thirteen former councilors and eleven former senior officials of the Generalitat – for the expenditure supposedly originated in the public coffers in the organization of the self-determination referendum.