The Madrid Superior Court of Justice has sentenced Eugenio Pino, former operational deputy director of the Police with the Government of Mariano Rajoy and architect of the political brigade, to one year in prison for the case of the Pujol pendrive. The judges consider him guilty of a crime of revealing secrets and impose a fine of 7,200 euros in addition to the obligation to compensate Jordi Pujol Ferrusola with 2,000 euros.
Six hidden keys in the testimonies of the trial of the PP political police
In the case, the attempt by Pino and his collaborators to introduce private material stolen from the former president’s eldest son into the cause of the National Court investigating the Pujols was judged, a maneuver that was aborted by the instructor of the case at that time, José de la Bush. This is the first conviction for what has been called ‘Operation Catalunya’, despite the fact that the police maneuvers against sovereignism have not themselves been the subject of an investigation. The Prosecutor’s Office never found a crime in the actions of Eugenio Pino and one of his lieutenants, Bonifacio Díaz Sevillano, who also sat on the bench, and requested the acquittal of both. In the trial, Podemos exercised the popular accusation.
The magistrates that make up the Chamber have upheld the appeal filed by Pujol Ferrusola on understanding, contrary to the criteria of the Provincial Court of Madrid, that Eugenio Pino, at the time of the events deputy operational director of the National Police Corps, did committed a criminal offense when he provided the CNI, the UDEF and the Court of Instruction No. 5 of the National High Court with a flash drive with information on Jordi Pujol Ferrusola without warning “at any time to the judicial authority of the illicit origin of the evidence”.
The Civil and Criminal Chamber maintains that “from the moment in which the accused did not comply with the duty that he had as a public official to prevent the flash drive from having any path, but instead gave it course with a spurious use of its content, proceeded to disseminate, reveal or transfer to third parties data and documentation belonging to the privacy of Jordi Pujol Ferrusola with an evident intention of harming him”, simultaneously putting at risk the investigation carried out by the National Court.
On April 1, 2016, the Unit against Economic and Fiscal Crime (UDEF) of the Police delivered a report to the judge in the Pujol case in which he reported the discovery of new information relevant to the case with the ultimate intention that the magistrate authorized a police operation with records. The policemen told the judge that the documentation came from the registry of the detective agency Method 3 and later changed the version and defended that it was “intelligence information” incorporated into police databases. Judge De la Mata was immediately distrustful and opened a separate piece where he included the information on the flash drive, isolating it from the rest of the case so that it would not contaminate it.
De la Mata began to investigate within the framework of that separate piece and soon began to find contradictions between the police officers, with computer memories that suddenly appeared in the drawers of the UDEF and evident falsehoods in his statements before the magistrate. The judge ended up purging the information, but not before issuing an order in which he concluded: “This irregular search for shortcuts by the superior police authority, constitutionally and ethically inadmissible, turned these documents and the police report that analyzes them into elements of illicit tests with potential contamination”. In addition, the magistrate deduced testimony against Pino and Díez Sevillano for false testimony, prevarication and procedural fraud, which ended up leading to the case on which the Civil and Criminal Chamber of the TSJM has now ruled.
“The power of the State cannot use shortcuts”
Pino’s police status, the Madrid TSJ magistrates clarify, does not exempt him from criminal responsibility for the crime of revealing secrets, as the Provincial Court maintained, nor does the fact that his actions were limited to handing over to others members of the Police the flash drive “under the so-called formula of for the purposes that proceedTherefore, we repeat –the judges add-, no effect could or should have been produced” by the reports contained in a computer device that should never have been incorporated into a judicial proceeding.
“The power of the State for the persecution and prosecution of illicit acts cannot use shortcuts. The exercise of the jurisdictional function only conforms to the constitutional model when it is based on the principles that define the right to a process with all the guarantees. The violation of the rights of the accused, either through an act of a criminal nature, or through the violation of their fundamental rights and freedoms, opens a crack in the very structure of the criminal process, ”the judges reflect in their ruling.
The accused -add the judges-, “because of his status as a public official, where he occupied a very high level, he should have been subject to what is established in article 11 of the LOPJ and since he was aware of the illicit origin of the data and documentation contained in the ‘pendrive’, having refrained from giving it to anyone under any conditions”, among them to organizations outside the judicial process, which reinforces the consummation of the crime of revealing secrets that the Penal Code includes.
Stolen information destined for the CNI
And among that nobody to whom the flash drive should never have been delivered is the National Intelligence Center. “In his decision to disseminate the data that he knew was not supported by any lawful basis for obtaining it, the accused declares that he ordered another copy of the electronic device to be sent to the CNI, whose status as a ‘third party’ does not admit the slightest doubt” , add the error.
The admission of this circumstance by the accused “fulfills by itself”, say the judges, the violation of the duty of secrecy and custody to which Eugenio Pino was subjected at the time of the events. The sentence concludes: “the defendant, knowing the illicit origin of the electronic device that contained abundant personal data of Pujol Ferrusola, ordered that copies be made and arranged for it to be sent to different recipients. This culminated in a spurious use of the data stored on the flash drive, consummated directly with its delivery to third parties knowing the illegality of its capture.