Jesús García Bueno, Barcelona, 25 December 2021
Rosa Bosch (left), Josep Maria Estela and Eduard Sallent make up the new Mossos leadership. ALBERT GARCIA
The dismissed Command led the investigations against senior officials of the Junts per Catalunya.
The sudden dismissal of Investigation Command of Mossos d’Esquadra, the major Toni Rodríguez, has caused discomfort in some sectors of the judiciary and the prosecution in Catalonia. On Tuesday, one day after being publicly presented as the new head of the body to replace Major Josep Lluís Trapero, Commissioner Josep Maria Estela informed Rodríguez of his dismissal as head of the General Criminal Investigation Commission (CGIC). Asked in Parliament, the regional Minister of Interior, Joan Ignasi Elena, distanced himself from the decision, which he attributed to the leadership and saw as something “normal”.
Under Rodríguez’s command, the CGIC and the units that depend on it have investigated cases of corruption that have affected political leaders of the Government and personalities of Junts per Catalunya. “The image that conveys such a sudden decision is not good. The administration must make its decisions, but we judges need police officers who take the investigations seriously,” explains a veteran magistrate, who describes Rodríguez as an investigator with a sharp tooth whose pulse does not tremble when it comes to persecuting the powerful, even when they are among their own.
The mayor and his team are responsible for the former Minister of the Interior Miquel Buch being on the ropes for the alleged use of public funds to facilitate an escort service to former president Carles Puigdemont, who has fled to Belgium from justice. Last June, after the prosecution requested six years in prison and 15 years of disqualification for Buch, the Government appointed him president of Infraestructures, with a salary of more than 115,000 euros.
If the current president of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, is one step away from sitting on the bench – for prevarication, embezzlement, falsehood and fraud – it is a consequence of the work of the major and his collaborators, who tracked the emails during the time she chaired the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes (from 2013 to 2018). Borràs allegedly divided contracts worth 260,000 euros to award to one of her collaborators, Isaías H.
The investigation units of Mossos also arrested, in October 2018, the president of the Lleida Provincial Council, Joan Reñé, for the alleged bribes he received from a network of construction companies in exchange for public awards. The progress of the case made it possible to discover that part of the payments were carried, presumably through the audiovisual production company Triacom, which allowed it to be connected with the 3% case.
Barcelona examining magistrates and prosecutors consulted by EL PAÍS coincide in highlighting the good harmony with the investigators due to “the good results provided” in various far-reaching causes. “We have applauded their actions many times, they always try to go to the end without accepting pressure of any kind,” explain public prosecutor sources who describe as “surprising” the speed with which the new leadership has decided to dispense with the head of the investigation. “When a new manager arrives, he has to be able to set up his trustworthy team. But he is striking that it was so fast, it is not understood ”, they explain.
Struggle between Commands
The Department of the Interior is now in the hands of Esquerra Republicana, who had long pondered the departure of Trapero, considering that he was cast in an intransigent position without accepting any political suggestions on the police model. To this is added that former vice president Oriol Junqueras never forgave that the major alluded in the National Court – where he was tried for alleged passivity in the independence referendum on October 1 – to a “plan” to arrest him and Puigdemont.
On Monday, the counselor Elena announced the removal of Trapero to give generational relief and “feminize” the body. The new boss, a man, will be accompanied by the mayor Rosa Bosch and the commissioner Eduard Sallent, who was already head of the Mossos in Buch’s time and is considered close to Junts. Puigdemont’s party avoided criticizing Trapero’s departure despite the fact that he had reinstated him in office, just a year earlier, after his acquittal.
Rodríguez is a command close to Trapero. One of his trusted people and head of the anti-corruption unit, José María Lazo, has resigned, so both positions are now vacant. Sources close to the disgraced commanders consider that, with the changes, Interior seeks a certain capacity to access police information and Mossos with less investigative muscle in sensitive matters thanks to “more docile and lukewarm” commanders. Other sources point out, however, that a change in working methods was necessary within the framework of the “global changes” that the body seeks to promote.