Separatist trial judgement: misuse of public funds
1. The misuse of public funds and the Catalan separatists. Several readers have asked about the details this week, which seem to have been talked about less than the convictions for sedition. All those details here in this thread. How much money and what did they spend it on?
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 10:29 am | On Twitter
2. Only some of the former regional ministers—Junqueras, Romeva, Turull and Bassa—have been convicted of the misuse of public funds. Not all the defendants and not all the members of the Puigdemont's government. Why not all of them or all the former regional ministers?
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 10:33 am | On Twitter
3. “The decisive responsibility and participation of Mr. Oriol Junqueras in the most important acts of disloyalty in the administration of public funds is very obvious” says Supreme Court. He was Deputy First Minister for economy, “…zero observance of the constitutional order”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 10:38 am | On Twitter
4. In September 2017, when the Constitutional Court imposed heavy daily penalty payments on the secretary general of the Deputy First Minister's office and the head of the area of electoral processes and popular votes, Junqueras sacked them both [to avoid paying the fines].
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 10:41 am | On Twitter
5. “…they were fully aware of the illegality of the self-determination referendum, as well as the unconstitutionality of their voluntarist justification of the legitimacy of an abstract and spiritualised mandate from the people of Catalonia, with no basis at all in the law”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 10:45 am | On Twitter
6. There was “conscious and deliberate disloyalty in the administration of public funds”, a “stubborn persistence to hold the referendum” and Junqueras tried to “hide the expenses incurred to organise the referendum” because of Finance Ministry checks.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 10:50 am | On Twitter
7. After the years of the financial crisis, Catalonia as a region needed funds from the central government's FLA (Regional Liquidity Fund) and the provisions of Rajoy's financial stability laws to survive and pay suppliers. That logically entailed more Finance Ministry controls.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 10:55 am | On Twitter
8. Catalonia as a region achieved junk bonus status all the way back in 2015, and the Finance Ministry imposed even more controls: “regular reporting obligations were imposed on the entire public sector in Catalonia” and restrictions on payments ordered.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:01 am | On Twitter
9. Already in 2015, when Montoro was Finance Minister and Artur Mas in the Catalan government, “the amounts charged to the FLA” in Catalonia, “would be paid directly by the state”, “against submitted invoices, without passing through the autonomous community”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:05 am | On Twitter
10. The judgement jumps to 2017, when they passed the budget for the referendum. The Constitutional Court suspended it a week later and annulled it altogether in July to guarantee the “defence of the general interest and compliance with the Constitution” in Catalonia.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:10 am | On Twitter
11. That ruling from the Constitutional Court, in July 2017, led to the Finance Ministry imposing even more controls on spending in Catalonia: the duty to inform on state of accounts every week. In July 2017, Jané was sacked as regional interior minister, swapped out for Forn.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:16 am | On Twitter
12. Also at the end of July, Junqueras and the others took on responsibility for information and certificates for the Finance Ministry: “the weekly certificates required by the Agreement of July 21, 2017, were to be signed by each regional minister” [not civil servants].
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:19 am | On Twitter
13. In September 2017, they rammed the disconnection laws through the Catalan Parliament and signed the decrees for the referendum, “the Catalan Government was authorised [by itself] to approve expenditure […] in order to organise the holding of the referendum”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:23 am | On Twitter
14. “The decisions and actions referred to above will be taken collectively and in a collegiate manner by members of the Catalan government, and taken jointly”. But only some former regional ministers have been convicted of the misuse of public funds…
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:25 am | On Twitter
15. Junqueras (Deputy First Minister), Turull (First Minister's office), Romeva (Foreign Relations) and Bassa (Employment) were the core group promoting government agreement of September 6, “the most involved in the preparation of the referendum” and the related expenditure.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:29 am | On Twitter
16. They had known explicitly since April, with the Constitutional Court suspension order, that they were strictly forbidden to spend a single euro of public money on organising the referendum.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:32 am | On Twitter
18. Finance Ministry replied on 15th, “in defence of the general interest and guarantee of fundamental public services” in Catalonia, “without doubt, an unprecedented aggravation in the scope of the actions of those authorities” that affected the economy of the whole of Spain.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:40 am | On Twitter
19. From Sept. 15, the Finance Ministry imposed even tighter controls, announced it would pay suppliers directly, and required prior central government cabinet-level authorisation for Catalan debt operations, including short-term ones.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:46 am | On Twitter
20. You only need to take a look at the official state gazette and the regional Catalan version to prove “the desperate struggle of Messrs. Junqueras, Romeva, Turull and Mrs. Bassa to evade any possibility of financial control by the state”, says the Supreme Court.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:49 am | On Twitter
21. The winning judicial narrative appears in the misuse of public funds section as well: the referendum was “to encourage citizens to mobilise, hopeful with the belief” that their votes would lead “to the unprecedented scenario of a Catalan Republic”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:53 am | On Twitter
22. But also in this section the court describes “their manifest rebellion” and their “intention to impose the suspended and unconstitutional regulations” above the Spanish Constitution. It can't be both aims: either to pressure Rajoy or to impose a new constitution.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 11:56 am | On Twitter
23. The Supreme Court finds a contradiction between the promises to hold the referendum “with self-styled legitimacy” and the concurrent attempts to deny or conceal the costs related to it.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:02 pm | On Twitter
24. The Finance Ministry controls depended on the information sent to Madrid by the Catalan government: “we could only review and control what the Catalan government sent along”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:05 pm | On Twitter
25. After framing the misuse of public funds in that historical context and the situation in the summer of 2017, the Supreme Court details specific expenses. Let's see which companies and how much. The CTTI, the web designer, TV3 and the campaign ads, “that guy Toni”, Unipost.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:15 pm | On Twitter
26. There is no easy-to-understand summary table in the judgement to explain the misuse of public funds, so let's do one as we read, to see if we can get some clarity on the matter.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:18 pm | On Twitter
27. They start with the CTTI and CESICAT, both attached to the First Minister's office (Turull). The CTTI “created several websites, applications, platforms and computer programs aimed at the preparation and holding of the illegal referendum on October 1”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:22 pm | On Twitter
28. The CTTI is a public company that covers “all the information and telecommunications services in Catalonia”. The CESICAT is “the Catalan Centre for Information Security”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:24 pm | On Twitter
29. “Both institutions were put at the service of concealment manoeuvres”, with the game of trying to hide the referendum websites and the register of volunteers. They cloned the webpages on servers in the US, Belgium, Asia and Russia.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:33 pm | On Twitter
30. CTTI/CESICAT/DXC: “It is true that the parties to the prosecution do not quantify expenditure for these items […] but they affirm the accrual in their final conclusions […] and according to the evidence described, it is fully accredited”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:34 pm | On Twitter
31. T-Systems helped the regional foreign relations ministry (Romeva) with the part of the website that dealt with the register of Catalans abroad. Funds were spent but again for some reason that item “has not been quantified” in the documents submitted to the court.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:41 pm | On Twitter
32. On page 423, the first figures appear: DXC, “implementation of the referendum.cat website and applications”, €65,000 in services provided, out of a total of €135,000 euros planned.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:45 pm | On Twitter
33. The web designer, Teresa Guix, invoiced €2,700, including an item for the purchase and management of some domains. She semnt the invoices but then a negative invoice. The CTTI, Omnium, DXC and Hewlett Packard were involved in that part.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 12:53 pm | On Twitter
34. Then comes the issue of spending €101,700.75 on ads for a conference that Puigdemont, Junqueras and Romeva held at the European Parliament on January 24, 2017. Havas Media Group Spain, SA and Media Planning Group, S.A.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:00 pm | On Twitter
35. The ad, clearly referring to the referendum, and for a conference titled “The Catalan Referendum”, was published in “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Le Monde, Le Soir, De Stanndaard, Corriere de la Sera and Financial Times”, BUT…
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:07 pm | On Twitter
36. ... but the Supreme Court rules that specific expense is NOT part of the misuse of public funds: “participation in a conference cannot be regarded as criminal conduct, whether or not the speakers defended self-determination and independence in their speeches”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:10 pm | On Twitter
37. In a separate paragraph, mention is made of “an intense advertising campaign” for the register of Catalans abroad, worth €220,253.34.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:18 pm | On Twitter
38. €10,829.50 for Estudi Dada for “the design of the ad for the register of Catalans abroad". Apart from separatist media outlets, they made versions of the ad to include in: El País, La Vanguardia, El Periódico, Facebook and YouTube.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:23 pm | On Twitter
39. Focus Media, €130,863.15 for placing the ad.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:28 pm | On Twitter
40. The placement of that campaign on the Internet, 97.332.63 euros, including VAT, Nothingad and Kardumen. Ferran Burriel, director of Nothingad, issued a negative invoice for 80,440,19 euros. [In the descriptions in the judgment, some amounts described do not match].
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:35 pm | On Twitter
41. Then there is the issue of the urgent budget increase they asked for among themselves “for an institutional advertising campaign to promote civic life”. The famous train tracks ad. The application was for 3,430,000 euros, but the tender was declared void.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:48 pm | On Twitter
42. Carat España and Focus Media rejected the contract because it was obvious “that this is a political campaign” related to the referendum. A director of Focus Media testified that their share of the campaign, €2,300,000, was due to start on September 6.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:50 pm | On Twitter
43. TV3, Catalan public TV, did what Carat and Focus refused to do: broadcast the videos of the railway track ad, generating two invoices from CCMA, for €93,179.56 and €184,624.85.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 1:56 pm | On Twitter
44. After taking into account the report of the Comptroller of the Catalan govt. on the CCMA invoices for broadcasting the railway tracks ad, the Supreme Court notes both the evasion of Finance Ministry controls as well as the inadequacy of those central government controls.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 2:00 pm | On Twitter
45. The posters and leaflets. Enric Vidal supplied the image of the train tracks to Artyplan, Marc Marti and Global Solutions to make propaganda for the referendum.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 5:51 pm | On Twitter
46. Artyplan. 17,200 euros in referendum materials, without an invoice or delivery note.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 5:53 pm | On Twitter
47. Enric Vidal got the train tracks poster on a USB stick at a meeting at the Hotel Colón in early September, from a bloke called Toni. Who was Toni? Vidal said he didn't know, but the Civil Guard kept the phone number anyway. Vidal said he didn't invoice anything.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 5:57 pm | On Twitter
48. This bloke called Toni was actually Antoni Molons, who worked, look at that, in the Catalan government. He also called himself Antonio Gorda, but he used the same ID number for both.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:01 pm | On Twitter
49. Molons hid one of the SIM cards in his daughter's room.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:02 pm | On Twitter
50. A list of the calls from the second phone was sought by the police, and…
“…it turned out that the calls were located in the vicinity of Mr. Molons's home and in the surroundings of his workplace, Catalan government headquarters”
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:05 pm | On Twitter
51. At Artyplan, the Civil Guard seized 456,000 leaflets and posters, all for the referendum.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:07 pm | On Twitter
52. At Marc Martí, the Guardia Civil seized 87,550 posters for the referendum.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:08 pm | On Twitter
53. Another 483,000 leaflets for the referendum were seized on 17 and 18 September at Buzoneo Directo and Encuadernaciones Rovira.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:11 pm | On Twitter
54. Molons, that bloke Toni who was really the secretary of advertising for the Catalan government under Turull, used Vidal, from Omnium, to hide the management of the referendum posters and leaflets.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:14 pm | On Twitter
55. And so we get to Unipost: the 56,000 registered post letters for the members of the polling stations and 5,346,734 envelopes with polling cards. €979,661.96, divided up among five regional ministries: Culture, Healthcare, First Minister, Deputy FM, Employment.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:17 pm | On Twitter
56. Supreme Court offers a summary table of the Unipost matter and the amounts divided up by regional ministry. €1,185,390,98 in total, including the VAT. None of the amounts, note, exceed €250,000…
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:20 pm | On Twitter
57. Spain's Criminal Code punishes the misuse of public funds with more years in jail if the amount in question is greater than €250,000.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:21 pm | On Twitter
58. There were also “five effective invoices” at Unipost, real ones, “where the expression 'Proforma' does not appear in the left-hand margin”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:23 pm | On Twitter
59. In the office of the director of Unipost, Pablo Raventós, a note was found talking about the 56,000 registered post letters and that the base amount without VAT for each invoice should be less than €200,000. They had calculated 16.5 cents to send out each census card.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:27 pm | On Twitter
60. Readers will notice that the five regional ministries in the Unipost case—First Minister, Deputy FM, Health, Culture and Employment—coincide with three of the convictions for misuse of public funds: Junqueras, Turull, Bassa. Comín (Health) and Puig (Culture) fled abroad.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:34 pm | On Twitter
61. In the search of David Palanques's office, at the regional employment ministry, there was an Excel file with 56,196 rows: name, ID number and address. The members of the polling stations. They coincided perfectly with the letters seized by the Civil Guard.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:36 pm | On Twitter
62. Catalonia's Foreign Delegations. The consulting firm S.G.R. Government Relations and Lobbying was hired. 60,000 euros, to “facilitate meetings with the media”. They managed to get a Puigdemont article into the Washington Post.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:45 pm | On Twitter
63. The Hague Center. International observers. €167,065 in total, €119,000 paid.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:49 pm | On Twitter
64. With the Hague Center, Pugidemont sought the “development of a multidimensional foreign action strategy in the European Union environment”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:51 pm | On Twitter
65. Diplocat, managed by Albert Royo, was dependent on Romeva and chaired by Puigdemont. 85-90% of the funds come from the Catalan government. Supreme Court quotes an interesting email from Romeva, with a message to Royo, which explains what they were really up to.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:55 pm | On Twitter
66. Romeva, to Royo: “Although Diplocat is formally an autonomous body, and is not in government, it is part of the international network coordinated by the Department. It would not be good for anyone to get the idea that Diplocat was going off by itself…”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 6:57 pm | On Twitter
67. Romeva, to Royo: “despite the alleged suspension of the Constitutional Court, we have acted AS A REAL FOREIGN MINISTRY” with a clear objective, “to reverse the story abroad”. He did not write of daydreaming: “abroad people can see that we are for real, bit by bit”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:01 pm | On Twitter
68. Romeva was asking Royo for loyalty. Royo replied on October 15: “With Diplocat you have an effective and committed team at your service, AT THE SERVICE OF THE REPUBLIC THAT IS COMING”.
It doesn't seem like Romeva and Royo were daydreaming.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:05 pm | On Twitter
69. The visit by MPs and MEPs between 28 September and 2 October, 2017. Pictures were taken with Royo, Forcadell, Romeva. Travel and accommodation costs. Although not all of the visitors generated such costs, “much of the delegation” did.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:09 pm | On Twitter
70. Here is the complete list of visitors. Slovenia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Macedonia, United Kingdom. From the UK, several Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalists, and one from the Liberal Democrats.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:11 pm | On Twitter
71. The cost for the European MPs visit? €64,654.09
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:14 pm | On Twitter
72. Helena Catt's group. There are records of 32 payments to 13 colleagues for a total amount of €114,592.50, plus €62,712.40 in accommodation and travel expenses.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:21 pm | On Twitter
73. A member of Helena Catt's group, the Irish lawyer and analyst Michael Grange, received €4,873 for conducting a debate, plus the expenses for renting the room, interpreters, airline tickets, staying in Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Figueres, and six cars.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:23 pm | On Twitter
74. Royo and Diplocat hired MN2S Management to get Wim Kok, the former Dutch Prime Minister, “to ensure his presence on October 1”. €54,030 in total, all with invoices and payments.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:28 pm | On Twitter
75. There was a refund of that amount. The parties to the prosecution said that was because MN2S realised it was illegal. Royo said it was because Kok couldn't come because of diary problems.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:30 pm | On Twitter
76. More about the media and Catalan separtism. @diariARA had received €2,700 a month from Diplocat since 2015 for translating stories about the referendum into English, which were then posted on the voting website. Court does not consider that part of misuse of funds, however.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:35 pm | On Twitter
77. We enjoyed the fight between real-estate expert witnesses during the trial about the use value of the polling stations on October 1. The suggestion was €900,906.70. Supreme Court has not accepted that value. Not part of the misuse of funds.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:40 pm | On Twitter
78. “…the defendant Mr. Romeva had functional control over the decisions concerning the expenses paid out by the Diplocat consortium”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:43 pm | On Twitter
79. With regard to Junqueras, “the existence of expenses that reflect the breakdown of the most elementary rules of loyalty in the management of public funds”.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:44 pm | On Twitter
80. Turull arrived in time to be convicted of the misuse of public funds as regional minister for the First Minister's office.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:45 pm | On Twitter
81. Bassa, as regional employment minister, took part in the distribution of expenditure at Unipost, the five invoices for less than €250,000 euros but which together added up to more than a million euros.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:48 pm | On Twitter
82. “Mrs. Bassa and Messrs. Junqueras, Turull and Romeva, were fully aware of the illegality of the constituent process and the medial referendum they organised, regardless of its cost and with the firm determination to charge the amount to the public coffers.”
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:49 pm | On Twitter
83. And why have Forn, Rull, Borrás, Mundó and Vila not been convicted of the misuse of public funds, even though as regional ministers in Pugidemont's government they signed the September 6 agreement?
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:52 pm | On Twitter
84. Because of the lack of specific actions, illegal expenses at their regional ministries, in this case. “It is essential […] the co-participant carry out material acts, core or not, of execution”. Some even gave specific orders NOT to spend any public money on the referendum.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:55 pm | On Twitter
85. Junqueras, Turull, Romeva and Bassa, however, “did not limit themselves to a rhetorical and criminally irrelevant shared externalisation of their will to evade the financial control proper in democratic societies”. They misused public funds.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 7:57 pm | On Twitter
86. As for the total amount of public funds misused, a specific total number does not appear, as far as I have seen, in the whole judgement. Many numbers are mentioned and repeated. If we subtract the Civisme ad tender, which was voided, it seems to be about 2.5 million euros.
Published: Nov 01, 2019, 8:07 pm | On Twitter
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