The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has asked to file the case against the mayor of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and president of the Barcelona Provincial Council, Núria Marín, not appreciating that she ignored the internal complaint of diversion of funds in the city’s Sports Council for private expenses of socialist leaders.
The Police finds “continuous irregularities” in the subsidies to the Consell Esportiu de L’Hospitalet
The mayor was charged in the case of the Consell Esportiu not for participating in the diversion of subsidies attributed to various socialist positions in L’Hospitalet and which have led to the resignation of her dolphin, Cristian Alcázar. The judge investigates Marín for allegedly omitting the irregularities in the Consell that the socialist councilor Jaume Graells communicated to him in 2020, an extreme that the mayor forcefully denied when requesting the file of the case.
In his brief, the anti-corruption prosecutor Luís García Cantón states that in order for the duty to prosecute crimes to be omitted, it is necessary that the person who receives the complaint of irregularities does not make any move to investigate them. This did not happen, argues the prosecutor, in the case of Marín, who learned of the case through councilor Graells and commissioned an audit at the Consell, in addition to urging the mayor to report the events to the Police.
“The attitude, behavior and decisions” of Marín, argues the prosecutor, “cannot fit into the idea of a patent, manifest and total relinquishment of functions.” The prosecutor reports that after listening to Graells and having a conversation “with those possibly responsible for the irregularities”, Marín ordered an audit of the Consell’s accounts, “fulfilling the obligation to control the good outcome of the subsidies granted”.
“There is not a single piece of information that allows us to deduce”, emphasizes the prosecutor, that Marín “acted in flagrant or evident contradiction with the Law, nor in the omission of procedures in the different subsidy files (on which, by other party, did not have any competence) nor in the adoption of any resolution, since none appears in the files processed.”
The petition about Marín occurs in the main piece of the Consell Esportiu case, which will still take a few months to close and find out if it goes to trial or is filed completely. Yes, they will sit on the bench, in a separate part of the case, Alcázar and another former socialist councilor who resigned, Cris Plaza, for . The Prosecutor’s Office asks for four and a half years in prison for both.
Final stretch of the investigation
Pending the judge’s decision on the file of the case for Marín, the Consell Esportiu case faces the final stretch of the investigation. Although it will still be necessary to wait several months for its definitive resolution, the investigation of the case still has to practice, broadly speaking, a single key test. This is the expert report of the General Intervention of the State on the subsidies received by the Consell Esportiu between the years 2016 and 2019.
In a letter, the prosecutor has asked to exclude from the expert report the subsidies received by the entity from the Barcelona Provincial Council and the Generalitat, and has requested that the analysis focus on the aid received only from the L’Hospitalet City Council. The prosecutor argues that there is “no indication” of irregularities in the subsidies granted by the Generalitat and the Diputación.
With his request, the prosecutor delimits an investigation that the successive reports of the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of Barcelona had extended to all the income and expenses of the Consell. In a veiled reference to police intentions, prosecutor García Cantón emphasizes that going beyond the analysis of City Council subsidies to the Consell would lead to “undesirable prospective investigations that have no place” in criminal procedural law.
The prosecutor also highlights that the investigation of the case focuses “not so much on the legality of the path chosen to grant the annual subsidy”, but on the possibility that these aids “went to swell the private assets of some of the people investigated, taking advantage of its privileged position” within the Consell Esportiu. That is to say, in a diversion of funds from the Consell for private expenses of the socialist positions investigated.
Consequently, for the prosecutor, the expert evidence must clarify whether the justification for the subsidies is documented, whether it has been proven that their objective was fulfilled and whether invoices or other valid evidence regarding the destination of the aid has been provided. The prosecutor also requests that the expert determine the amounts received by the Consell Esportiu de l’Hospitalet that “may have been used for purposes other than those foreseen” and find out if the City Council, as the body that granted the aid, verified the “adequate justification” of the same and the performance of the subsidized activity.