Angels Vazquez MADRID – THURSDAY, 05/03/2020
The judicial landscape of former Generalitat President Carles Puigdemont could get complicated. The Judge of Instruction Number 2 of Girona has raised a reasoned exposure to the Supreme Court to investigate him in relation to the management of the company “Aigues de Girona” (Agissa) during her tenure at the head of the Girona City Council, between 2011 and 2016. Specifically, the receipt was allocated with a fee provided for the maintenance of the service to buy works of art.
The magistrate, who endorses the request of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office to refer the proceedings to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, when he was a regional deputy, and now to the Supreme, as an MEP, considers that he may have committed the crimes of prevarication, fraud to the Administration and documentary falsity. If the Second Chamber of the Supreme decides to assume the investigation submitted, it must carry out the corresponding request to the European Chamber to lift his immunity and to proceed like it.
Former President Puigdemont, who fled Spanish justice when he was summoned to testify by the ‘procés’, has rushed to reply on Twitter that “a year ago, when information appeared with the same elements as now” he offered through his lawyer to voluntarily declare to “root cut” what he considers “an attempt to dirty him”. He says that he was denied such an investigation, and he believes that the procedure follows an attempt to extradite him for “whatever”.
Even if the Supreme declared himself competent to investigate him, his delivery would not be as automatic as Puigdemont seems to fear. Sources of Anti-Corruption, the Prosecutor’s Office that has asked the high court to investigate it, doubt that this procedure is raised, although the decision on whether or not to take a Euroorder to try to get it to Spain will be up to the prosecutors of the Supreme.
Two on the list
They are based on the prevarication is not punished with prison, and it does not appear on the list of automatic delivery offences provided for in the system for European deliveries. But they are the fraud against the administration and documentary falsity, altough they point out that this first crime is less serious than the embezzlement for which it is claimed in the ‘procés’, because the ex-president is accused of diverting public money to the acquisition of the artistic collection of Rafael Santos Torroella, for the City Council, not to enrich himself.
At the time, the judge of the Supreme Court of Justice, Pablo Llarena, refused to accept his delivery from Germany, but because accepting it only out of embezzlement, banned to judge him by rebellion or sedition, which would not happen now.
The final decision shall be made by the Second Chamber, after a report by the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office. The tax sources consulted emphasize that the cause followed by the ‘procés’ and that of the “Aigues de Girona” raise totally different facts. The latter was initiated by the judge of that locality in 2015 following a complaint of the CUP against the former CEO of Agissa, Narcís Piferrer, for a continuing crime of unfair administration, considering that it benefited the private part of the joint venture, the company Girona SA, through “irregular check-ins and self-invoicings”, in front of the municipalities of Girona, Sarrié de Ter and Salt, with the remaining 20%.
If the Supreme decides to investigate the ‘ex-president’ on the run and the corresponding plea is granted, he would join the one already processed by Llarena for sedition and embezzlement in relation to the ‘procés’. The acquisition of MEP status led the magistrate to put the Euroorder to try to achieve its delivery on hold.
The three consistories affected were registered in June 2018 in search of documentation related to the purchase of the collection of Rafael Santos Torroella for 3.9 million euros for the plenary of the City of Girona, thanks to the quality vote of the then ruler, Puigdemont.
The research focuses on the diversion of what was obtained with an extraordinary canon that was imposed on citizens to buy the collection, even though the nature of the funds required them to be reinvested in the water supply service. The magistrate considers that “an artifice” was used to conceal it and this caused “a damage to the heritage of the Girona City Council, in the network of sanitation and drinking water”.