Barcelona Judge Joaquín Aguirre, who is investigating the diversion of funds from the Barcelona Provincial Council to entities related to the Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), investigates whether the current head of the office of Carles Puigdemont and former Commissioner of International Relations of the Provincial Council Between 2015 and 2018, Josep Lluís Alay, “was illicitly enriched” during his time in the provincial entity.
Josep Lluís Alay, head of the Puigdemont Office: “I have never sought the support of the Kremlin”
It has been Alay himself who has revealed through Twitter the new battery of proceedings agreed by Judge Aguirre. In his message, Alay has charged harshly against the instructor: “The sewer returns. Judge Aguirre wakes up after months and unleashes the persecution against me again. I have never been head of cooperation of anything. Rotten state.” Sources from Alay’s defense have criticized the judge’s decision for being “prospective”.
The judge’s move on Alay comes after the judge discovered that another senior official appointed by Convergència in the Diputación – the former head of international relations Jordi Castells, now deputy director general of local cooperation of the Generalitat – increased his assets by 300,000 euros while was in the provincial entity.
Castells also bought two flats without taking out a mortgage and his account shows “cash income for amounts incompatible” with his public salary, says the instructor. The judge now wants to know if this pattern was also followed in Alay, so he orders the Civil Guard “an investigation of assets” to the current trusted man of Puigdemont “in order to determine if he was illicitly enriched” with the approval of files of cooperation programs allegedly used to divert funds to entities related to the CDC.
In the car, to which elDiario.es has had access, the judge asks, in addition to the investigation of Alay’s assets, that the Barcelona Provincial Council certify the trips he made while he was in office, if they were paid by the public entity and who authorized it.
Regarding Castells, the judge asks the Provincial Council to detail the procedure for approving grants and minor contracts granted by the senior official during his time in the provincial entity, as well as the “positions and names of those who had to endorse and approve the payments.” And he summons the general secretary of the Diputación to deliver the petitions in court and make “a personal request” about them.
The judge indicates that Alay “succeeded in the position” to Castells, although the second, formally, was head of international relations of the Diputación – he resigned after revealing elDiario.es the diversion of funds – and for Alay it was created, three months later , a new position, that of commissioner of international relations.
The new proceedings take place after the return of Aguirre to the court after a few months in which his substitute has closed almost all the pieces of the case of fraudulent subsidies of the Diputación. The Prosecutor’s Office and the Barcelona Provincial Council -despite having carried out the expert reports on the case that confirmed the diversion of funds- have taken advantage of Aguirre’s temporary vacancy in the court to request the substitute judge to close all the pieces except the one that affects to the entities CATMON and Igman, linked to the current deputy of Junts Francesc de Dalmases.
Justice has had Alay under the spotlight for years. He was exonerated from the case that kept him investigated for months at the National High Court for accompanying Puigdemont when he was arrested in Germany, but in the Barcelona courts the investigations against the head of the former president’s office are still alive. In addition to the case of the Diputación, Alay is being investigated for the Russian plot of the procés, denied by the head of Puigdemont’s office in an interview in elDiario.es.
Alay is also being investigated in the Voloh case, of alleged diversion of funds to pay for Carles Puigdemont’s stay in Waterloo, in another case on the Tsunami Democràtic platform, and awaits trial for alleged embezzlement in relation to a trip he made to New Caledonia to attend to the self-determination referendum of the former French colony.