Wednesday, October 5

The judge cites a former ERC minister as accused of an urban development pitch

The course that starts will be key to the Voloh case, the macro-cause that investigates from the Russian contacts of the procés to the alleged behind-the-scenes corruption of some sovereignist businessmen. Judge Joaquín Aguirre has scheduled for the coming months successive rounds of statements from the investigated and witnesses before deciding how many of the pieces of the case he will send to trial. One of those who already has a date to appear as a defendant is the former ERC minister Xavier Vendrell, now a businessman and adviser during the last electoral campaign of the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro.

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In an order, the judge has summoned Vendrell for next November 24 within the framework of the piece that investigates the urban development pitch of Villa Bugatti, the estate in the Maresme region in which the former minister and his partners managed a business of wedding. In addition, they intended to acquire ownership of some land that would double its value once they achieved a reclassification riddled with irregularities, according to the investigators.

The Civil Guard maintains that Vendrell “influenced certain officials” of the Cabrera de Mar City Council and the Generalitat to achieve urban changes “that do not conform to current legislation.” In addition to Vendrell, the judge has cited as investigated two of his partners, Jordi S. and Patricio C.; the mayor of Cabrera de Mar, Jordi Mir (PDeCAT); his former councilor for Urban Planning, Enric Mir, who resigned after the Civil Guard found 40,000 euros in cash in his office; and the municipal architect of Cabrera de Mar, Ramón V.

Judge Aguirre keeps the case open for the crimes of prevarication and influence peddling. After the urban reclassification, the farmhouse doubled its value, going from five to ten million euros. Based on the various reports submitted by the Armed Institute, the judge considers that there is sufficient evidence to show that Vendrell would have obtained “clear favor treatment” from both municipal officials and the Generalitat so that the specific modification of the Plan could be approved. of Municipal Urban Planning (POUM) of Cabrera de Mar.

These changes endorsed the urban reclassification of the estate, 48,000 square meters and attended by politicians who held parties and events in it, to develop a school of the El Brot foundation – which was not finally executed because the Generalitat denied the educational concert of the center – and maintain the current banquet activity. To exploit the business, Vendrell would not have “hesitated” to “influence his top-level political contacts” and thus achieve “a greater agility than the norm” for requalification, the judge points out.

In addition, the Civil Guard states that despite the specific modification of the urban plan not having been processed and approved by the Urban Planning Commission, works were carried out on the estate without a license, of which the mayor and the councilor were up to date. “Villa Bugatti has functioned ‘pirate’ for many years,” Enric Mir himself confirmed in one of the intercepted telephone conversations in the case, while the mayor warned that the farm “is not legalized all the activities, it is like this as false”.

The Civil Guard also ensures that Vendrell allowed parties, banquets and concerts on the farm “exceeding” the maximum capacity allowed by the health restrictions derived from the pandemic and without the mandatory activity license “with the coexistence” of the former councilor. In one of the intercepted talks, Vendrell explained to one of his associates that even the Councilor for Culture of Cabrera, Sergi Teodoro, “joined the party,” referring to a summer festival held on the farm. And he also asked the former secretary general of the Ministry of the Interior, Brauli Duart, that the night curfew be established at midnight because he had a dinner planned for 450 people.

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