Thursday, October 21

Aragonès admits the difficulty of the Generalitat endorsing those sanctioned by the Court of Accounts | Catalonia

The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès (right), and his vice president, Jordi Puigneró, last June at a meeting of the Catalan Government.
The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès (right), and his vice president, Jordi Puigneró, last June at a meeting of the Catalan Government.Quique García / EFE

The president of the Generalitat moves cautiously in a terrain that tastes swampy. Pere Aragonès and his party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), harshly criticize the fines of more than 5.4 million euros that the Court of Accounts has imposed on 34 high-ranking officials of the Catalan administration for expenses allocated to international propaganda in favor of independence. Junts, coalition partners, press behind the scenes for the Generalitat to guarantee the bonds, but the president he knows that this would be a road full of judicial mines.

“We will look for mechanisms to protect these people and protect our powers,” said Aragonès this Sunday in an interview in The newspaper. Aragonès confirmed that the Generalitat is studying the options it has to support those sanctioned by the Court of Accounts. Doubts about the legal viability of the move are high because the Generalitat could incur criminal offenses of embezzlement and prevarication. Aragonès himself conceded that the situation “is difficult”: “We are studying the ways that we have within our reach. It is difficult, because it has to allow effective coverage, not rhetoric. ” All the alternatives that have been made public this week in the form of probe balloons raise legal questions, from the hypothesis that it is the Institut Català de Finances that endorses the bonds or that the insurance company hired by the Generalitat does, as advanced The vanguard.

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The head of the Catalan Government added in The newspaper a few words in which he seemed to assume that private initiative should once again be the one that covers economic penalties: “We will have to activate solidarity mechanisms from society.” The so-called solidarity fund is an initiative launched by the Catalan National Assembly and Òmnium Cultural independence associations. This solidarity fund, based on donations, would have managed to raise in recent years some 14 million euros, which have been used to pay for the defenses and sanctions against dozens of those prosecuted for the unconstitutional consultations on the independence of 2014 and 2017 or for other crimes related to illegal actions derived from process.

Josep Cruanyes, spokesman for the association that manages the solidarity fund, confirmed to EL PAÍS on Friday that this fund no longer has enough resources to support the sanctioned politicians, including the former presidents of the Generalitat Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont, the Vice President Oriol Junqueras and former Minister of Economy Andreu Mas-Colell. All of them have publicly denounced, in recent weeks, that the case of this administrative court against them is unfounded, “a political revenge” of the powers of the State against the independence movement, in the words of Mas-Colell.

The Generalitat is the one harmed by the administrative irregularities sanctioned by the Court of Accounts. It would be, therefore, the Government of ERC and Junts the beneficiary with the 5.4 million that the 34 sanctioned people must pay. Aragonès admitted that the situation is a paradox because his Executive “does not feel harmed.” Returning the money to politicians sanctioned by the administrative court would be another option on the table, albeit with a very weak legal basis. The president, who attended this Sunday the commemoration of the centenary of the rugby club Unió Esportiva Santboiana, did not want to comment on this and other current issues. Aragonès’ strategy is based for the moment on a moderation that contrasts with the most frontist positions and in favor of the disobedience of his predecessor, Quim Torra.

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