Wednesday, December 8

Carles Puigdemont’s environment met with Russian intelligence in search of support for the procs


The Civil Guard confirms Josep Alay’s trips to Moscow and his contacts with Russian officials

Pere Aragon
Pere Aragons and Carles Puigdemont greet each other at the entrance to the former president’s residence in Waterloo, Belgium.Horst WagnerEFE
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The siege on the Russian connection to the independence process tightens. A report from the Civil Guard delivered to the Court of Instruction number 1 of Barcelona, ​​which investigates within the so-called Voloh case alleged irregular financing operations by the independence movement, point to the regular treatment of Josep Llus Alay, historian and former chief of cabinet of Carles Puigdemont, with Alexandre Dmitrenko. An obscure Russian businessman installed in Catalonia for 17 years, whom the Ministry of Justice has denied Spanish nationality due to “proven knowledge” of “his work for the Russian Intelligence Services, from which he receives missions.” Likewise, an investigation by different European intelligence services confirms different trips from Alay to Moscow, where he would have met with officials and people linked to the Russian security services.

The Civil Guard report, advanced by El Peridico, points out that the “punctures” on Alay’s phone have detected the mediation of Puigdemont’s right hand with Dmitrenko for the creation of different economic and financial networks between Russia and Catalonia. For example, the sale of gas or oil from a Russian company to a Chinese one. The Kremlin’s usual way of financing destabilization in other countries. Likewise, Alay would have maneuvered, according to their conversations, so that Dmitrenko – who met with Puigdemont in Geneva – was appointed ambassador of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, at that time chaired by the radical independentista Joan Canadell, today a JxCat deputy in the Parliament. . A possibility that, according to Alay, “opens a lot of things to us in Moscow.” Likewise, together with the lawyer Gonzalo Boye, they would have contacted the leader of a violent Russian criminal group to create secret financing mechanisms.

But the relationship between Alay and Puigdemont with Dmitrenko, who in 2016 founded the Catrus Capital company in London and whose supposed purpose was to stimulate political and economic relations between Catalonia and Russia, would have gone much further than the search for economic aid to the procs. According to an investigation by the New York Times, citing different reports from the European intelligence services, Alay traveled to Moscow in the spring of 2019 in search of political support for the secession plans. In that and subsequent visits to Russia, the independence leader met with former Russian secret service agents, officials and “with the grandson of a KGB spy, a man very well connected.” All of them people who would be part of the hybrid war strategy that the Kremlin uses to destabilize the West, through disinformation on social networks and the indirect financing of protest or insurrectionary movements.

Among the people with whom Alay met through Dmitrenko, according to the European intelligence report, the presence of Oleg V. Syromolotov, former director of counterintelligence of the Federal Security Service (SSF), stands out. Deputy Minister in the Russian Foreign Ministry. He also had a meeting with Yevgeny Primakov, familiarly linked to the former KGB. According to the New York Times, Alay’s intention was to get Puigdemont to be interviewed on an international current affairs program that he hosted. Primakov is a person close to Vladimir Putin, who last year awarded him the position of director of a cultural bureau that acts as a front for intelligence operations.

Later, the Spanish authorities determined that agents of a specialized Russian military intelligence group called Unit 29155, which has been linked to attempted coups and assassinations in Europe, were in Catalonia around the time of the referendum, but Spain has not presented evidence that they played an active role. After that appointment, Alay will have written a text message to the escaped former president of the Generalitat celebrating the rise of his contact: “Good news from Moscow.” For his part, Dmitrenko would write a text message to Alay noting that Primakov’s rise “puts him in a very good position to activate things between us.”

Alay also met with Andrei Bezrukov, a decorated former official of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, who along with his wife Yelena Vavilova spent ten years in the United States as undercover spies. A story that they captured in the novel The Woman Who Knows How to Keep Secrets, and that Alay translated into Spanish and Catalan. Puigdemont’s own chief of staff admitted in an interview on TV3 about the publication of the book that inspired the series The Americans that he personally knows these two Russian army colonels.

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