The economic derivative of the referendum 1-O is already under way. The Court of Auditors has activated the proceedings to establish accountability for the referendum that will face Carles Puigdemont and 18 other former high-level members of the Govern. A few days after the appointment of the instructor of the proceedings, the agency has addressed the court of the ‘procés’ with the intention of collecting data regarding the expenses incurred for the preparation and holding of the voting.
The instructor Esperanza García, who signs the application, considers as key the information contained in the proceedings in which Oriol Junqueras and 11 other Catalan politicians have been tried and, according to a letter sent to the Supreme Court to which El Confidencial has had access, has requested that they send her the information included in the special cause “as soon as possible”. According to legal sources, the Supreme Court has already agreed to forward the requested testimony.
Thus, the Court of Accounts is already studying the amount that will be claimed for the diversion of public funds for the organization of the illegal referendum with the aim of recovering the supposedly embezzled money. Everything points to the proceedings resulting in millionaire foreclosures to those affected. The objective is to determine precisely the funds diverted for the illegal referendum. The demand for bonds after the calculation of the amount will be ordered before the beginning of the trial against the investigated.
In addition to Puigdemont, the accounting responsibility would affect the former members of the Government at the time of the unilateral declaration of independence, such as Oriol Junqueras and also those who resigned in July 2017. There is also proceedings against the Generalitat comptroller Rosa Vidal.
The proceedings are based on a request from the Sociedad Civil Catalana and another from the Prosecutor’s Office against 19 people linked to the Generalitat, with Carles Puigdemont at the head. Although the round figure of the deviation is not yet quantified, it will undoubtedly be a millionaire one and will be claimed independently of the criminal trial at the Supreme Court, where the accusations impute embezzlement as well as crimes of rebellion and sedition.
The precedent of Artur Mas
Thus, the precedent of another ‘ex-president’, Artur Mas, overflies Puigdemont. The proceedings are similar to the one that was already carried out against the first for the sovereignty consultation of November 9, 2014, which ended with a sentence for the former Catalan president in which he was forced to pay in solidarity with nine other members of the Government 4.9 million euros for its accounting responsibility. In addition to Mas, the ex-vice-president Joana Ortega, the former president of the Presidency Francesc Homs and the former Minister of Education Irene Rigau, as well as civil servant positions of the Generalitat were also condemned and had to face minor parts of this payment.
On this occasion, it was the Ministry of the Treasury which gave the starting signal with a denunciation in November of 2017 against the destitute Government and the independence associations Asamblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural. It went to the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Court of Accounts for the 1-O, asking the Public Ministry to calculate “the damage caused to the public treasury” in the organization of the referendum.
In the same vein, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Accounts estimated last December in more than eight million euros the money illegally diverted by the Government of Carles Puigdemont for the illegal referendum of October, 1. It then presented a letter in which it brought forward this amount, which far exceeds that discovered by the Ministry of Finance or by Supreme Court magistrate Pablo Llarena, but nuancing that it was an initial phase of instruction in which it will claim new information to determine the exact amount.