Wednesday, March 22

The Prosecutor’s Office files the investigation due to the Government’s endorsement of those charged in the Court of Auditors

Double good news for the Generalitat. The Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office has filed the investigation against the members of the Governing Board of the Catalan Institute of Finance (ICF) as it saw no crime in the public guarantees of some thirty senior officials of the Generalitat prosecuted by the Court of Auditors for the promotion of the process abroad. The shelving of the case comes after the supervisory body accepted the ICF guarantees on Monday, rejected in the first instance.

The Court of Auditors rectifies and allows the Generalitat to endorse the leaders of the procés with public money

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The Public Ministry has filed the investigations “because the existence of a crime is not proven” in the loan of 5.4 million euros that the ICF left to the 28 officials and senior officials, including former presidents Carles Puigdemont and Artur Mas, to cover the bail imposed by the Court of Auditors in the case of external expenses of the procés.

The investigation was opened in July of last year as a result of a complaint by Citizens, who denounced the members of the ICF Governing Board for prevarication and embezzlement of public funds. In a parallel procedure, the Superior Prosecutor’s Office of Catalonia already opposed last October to the Justice investigating the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, and the ministers Jaume Giró and Laura Vilagrà for these guarantees, understanding that their purpose was “perfectly lawful”.

Citizens filed their complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office on the understanding that the Government committed a “fraudulent operation” with the creation of the Complementary Risk Fund to guarantee the former high-ranking officials prosecuted through the ICF, which caused the resignation of three independent members of the board governance of the entity.

In the report requesting that the TSJC not investigate Aragonès, Giró and Vilagrà, as a result of a complaint from Vox, the Superior Prosecutor of Catalonia already argued that the purpose of the ICF guarantees was “perfectly lawful” and warned that the “mere articulation” of this mechanism did not imply damage to public assets or a crime of embezzlement, since the Generalitat retained control of the funds and could recover them.

Coinciding with the position of the Prosecutor’s Office, the TSJC decided last November not to investigate Aragonès, Giró and Vilagrà, concluding that “nothing allows us to affirm that the legal framework approved by the Government of the Generalitat is arbitrary in itself and that it makes it possible without plus a disloyal administration of public funds”.

In the opinion of the Public Ministry, there could only be a crime in the event of an “inadequate and careless application” of the rule, aimed at “unduly favoring” people who do not meet the requirements, or if it was intended to “avoid or indefinitely delay the obligatory return” of the funds. This does not happen in the case of guarantees: in the event of a final judgment, the sovereignist leaders will have to put the money lent by the ICF out of their pockets to cover the bonds.