The Catalan Government has approved this Tuesday, through a decree law, the creation of a hedge fund for judicial claims, of 10 million euros, and to which former high-ranking officials affected by the processes of the Court of Accounts may be eligible. Those interested can only request assistance if there is no final conviction, explained the Minister of Economy, Jaume Giró, who has been confident that the mechanism does not involve committing any crime of embezzlement. He has also defended that he has all the legal guarantees to move forward. “There is no movement of money from the Generalitat,” he added.
The Court of Auditors asks a quarantine of high-ranking officials of the Generalitat and public servants to pay bail for 5.4 million euros, the money that the supervisory body believes has been wasted in the internationalization of the independence process. Giró explained that Administration workers who believe that they can benefit from this fund have to submit an application to the Catalan Institute of Finance (ICF), which after checking the data will give a counter endorsement to a financial institution that will be the one that finally contribute the money to the Court of Accounts. It has not been wanted to reveal the name of which bank will be.
“There is no movement of money from the Generalitat at any time, until there is a final judgment against it,” the counselor clarified. “We are not giving 10 million euros to anyone. We are creating a system of endorsement and counter endorsement ”, Giró has defended when he has been asked on several occasions to which item of the Generalitat’s Budgets these funds would be charged. Economy sources have explained that a transfer for that mountain to the ICF will soon be approved but without clarifying the origin of the money.
The fund’s guarantee will be maintained as long as there is no final judgment “and all judicial and jurisdictional, state and international avenues of challenge have not been exhausted,” according to the Government’s press release. That is, in the event that the Supreme Court condemns the people previously investigated by the Court of Accounts, the bank would pay but the Generalitat would not claim the money from the affected party until there is a European ruling, if that instance is resorted to.
The Government spokeswoman, María Jesús Montero, has avoided speaking out while waiting to know the details of the Government’s decision. “They have to allow us to know the agreement that they have reached in the Generalitat. We do not know the norm. Obviously, the Government watches over Catalonia and all the communities for legality ”, he stated in the subsequent appearance before the Council of Ministers, he reports Jose Marcos.
The text of the decree law will be known tomorrow, once it is published in the Official Gazette of the Generalitat of Catalonia. If civil liability is confirmed, people will have to return the money, as well as the interest and management fees, Giró has insisted. Precisely, this collection of interest, they have defended from Economy, is the safeguard to avoid that it can be said that there is an embezzlement or prevarication.
“At that time, the Generalitat will claim the money plus interest from those affected,” explained Giró. Vilagrà has said that the decree law (which will have to be validated by the Catalan Chamber, with a pro-independence majority) seeks to cover the gaps in the currently contracted insurance. The reform responds, the counselor said, to the principle of indemnity, that is, the coverage that public workers can have in administrative or judicial processes for acts derived from the exercise of their position.
Thus, for example, the former Minister of Culture, Santi Vila, may also use the fund. A court in Huesca asked him in February this year for a guarantee of 216,000 euros as a guarantee of responsibility in the case over Sijena’s assets. The former mayor had to hand over the deeds to his apartment. The Minister of Economy has been accompanied by the Minister of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà, who recalled that the rule has to be revalidated by Parliament, where there is a pro-independence majority.
The ICF, Giró said, is the entity that will initially be in charge of managing the fund until a specific body is created. From Economy they have defended that it is done through that body because it has experience in bank guarantees. The institute is a financial entity whose sole shareholder is the Generalitat and which was founded in 1985 with the mission of “promoting and facilitating access to financing for the economic fabric of Catalonia”. Its objective, as detailed on its corporate page, is “to contribute to the growth of the Catalan economy by acting as a complement to the private financial sector”.
The leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, has announced that if the Government does nothing, his party will denounce the Government for embezzlement and prevarication and will appeal requesting the disqualification of those who approve that fund. Casado has also demanded that President Pedro Sánchez, through a message on Twitter, clarify whether he is going to avoid the “inadmissible misappropriation” that the creation of the fund entails by stating that it is a “fraud of those who wasted money from the Spaniards to give a coup to the State ”.
The CUP, parliamentary partner of the Government, has welcomed the decision of the Executive Council. Laia Estrada, a CUP deputy, recalled that they have always defended that the Generalitat be on the side of the “reprisals”. “It is what we have always asked for. Any formula is fine with us. We want to avoid, of course, at all costs that there are reprisals of first and second and [queremos] that there are no distinctions, ”said the parliamentarian, who has asked the Generalitat to stop acting as a private accusation against independentistas. “It is one of his pending subjects. He has to support the reprisals without fissures ”, he stressed.
The commons, who did not know the decision in detail, have wanted to be prudent and have asked that the decision be legally sustainable. David Cid, spokesman for the left-wing coalition, has affirmed that they consider that the Court of Accounts is making profoundly unfair and arbitrary decisions and that the Popular Party has turned that body into its “farmhouse” by blocking its renewal. In this sense, Jaume Asens, president of the United We Can group in Congress, will promote a proposal to change the operation of the entity so that it is structural and not punctual.
Before knowing the decree, Ciudadanos has already described as “inadmissible” that the Generalitat has to pay the excess of the separatist leaders. “We are suffering a double outrage,” said deputy Nacho Martín Blanco, spokesman for Cs. “That is normalizing and looting the public coffers.” It is unpresentable that now they decide that the Catalans will pay that money again ”, he said.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.