Key day for the 34 exaltos charges of the Govern and officials indicted, among them the expresidents Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont, in the Court of Auditors for the external expenses of the procés. This Wednesday ends the deadline for them to deposit the 5.4 million euros of bail. While some of the defendants have already begun to deposit their flats and personal property to cover their part, the Govern, contrary to what it said 24 hours ago, has announced that it will finally guarantee those affected.
The bonds of the Court of Auditors: 2.9 million to Mas and Mas-Colell and almost two million to Junqueras and Puigdemont
It is the second rectification of the Govern in less than a day on the endorsement of the bonds of the Court of Auditors. This Tuesday the conseller of Economy and Finance, Jaume Giró, advanced that the Generalitat had not found any bank to guarantee the bonds and that finally the Catalan Institute of Finances (ICF), the public bank of credit of the Govern, would not take charge of them either. The guarantee is outside the ordinary scope of action of the ICF, dedicated especially to credit for companies. All this despite the fact that the Government’s own decree approved in early July provided that the ICF would provisionally cover the bonds if an agreement with a bank was not reached.
Surprisingly, Giró himself announced Wednesday during the plenary session of Parliament that he will finally use the ICF to guarantee the risk fund created by the Government to cover the bail of 5.4 million euros that the defendants must deposit this Wednesday. “I have received calls from people from the ICF who have asked us to please try to use this additional provision as provided for in the decree law. This is what we will do,” justified Giró, who earlier in the day had met with the president, Pere Aragonès.
Giró said that the decision not to endorse through the ICF was taken on Tuesday “for prudence” and to “protect” the workers of the institute, although he clarified on Wednesday that his words “were of some use” because the situation has been reversed.
The Government’s fund to cover the bonds works in a similar way to a private insurance: a financial institution would guarantee the bonds, with a counter-guarantee from the Generalitat that would be channelled through the ICF. But the first of the requirements failed to meet the Government with the rejection of the banks. Finally the guarantee will be assumed by the ICF itself, and if they end up condemned by the Court of Auditors, the leaders will have to return the money.
In spite of the announcement of last minute, according to legal sources some of the 34 exaltos charges of the implied Govern foresee to deposit along this Wednesday goods and personal properties to cover the sum demanded by the Court of Auditors. It is the case of the exinterventora of the Generalitat Mireia Vidal, the second accused to whom the audit body claims a higher bail, as confirmed in RAC-1 his lawyer, Javier Borrego.
However the bulk of the indicted, such as the expresidents Carles Puigdemont or Artur Mas or the exvicepresident Junqueras, yes they will finally be welcomed to the fund. According to legal sources, it will be each of the defendants who present to the Court of Auditors the guarantee of the ICF as a sign that they can assume the bail. Afterwards, it will be the auditing body that will indicate whether it accepts it or not, in which case it could proceed to the preventive seizure of their assets. In parallel to the ICF, the pro-sovereignty organisations have also presented their funds obtained through popular donations from the Solidarity Fund, which only amount to 900,000 euros of the 5.4 million euros claimed.
However, among the defendants there is scepticism as to whether the Court of Auditors will accept the ICF’s guarantee. This is what Artur Mas has verbalized in declarations to SER Catalunya. The ex-president has warned of the “very high probabilities” that the court rejects that option, with the “excuse that, as it is a public bank that belongs to the Generalitat, the Generalitat cannot directly cover with a guarantee” to the people indicted. “I hope I am wrong in my prediction and the Court of Auditors accepts this guarantee,” he added. The defenses of the defendants will continue to work to gather sufficient personal assets to guarantee the bonds, in case the entity does not accept the ICF guarantee.
First complaint filed
On the other hand, the court of instruction number 25 of Barcelona has filed the complaint that Convivencia Cívica Catalana (CCC) presented against the Government for creating the fund to guarantee the bonds of the Court of Auditors, because the cause is not of its competence to be directed against aforados. The judge has filed the complaint without analyzing the merits of the case, arguing that it is not within her jurisdiction.e ordinary justice is not competent to investigate the members of the Government who, as such, have the condition of aforados before the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC).
Convivencia Cívica filed on July 7 its complaint for embezzlement and prevarication -which was directed against the Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, and his ministers- in the duty courts of Barcelona and, by distribution, it fell into the hands of the head of the court of instruction number 25 of Barcelona. The body that corresponds to investigate the complaint is, however, the TSJC, since the members of the Government are protected before it.