Politics 14/06/2021

Prosecutor's Office seeks 6-year sentence for Buch for having signed on Puigdemont's bodyguard as an adviser

Public ministry also seeks 27 years of disqualification for the former Catalan Minister of Home Affairs

2 min
The former Minister of Interior Miquel Buch, leaving to testify for the complaint for the signing of the escort of Puigdemont a year ago

BarcelonaFormer Catalan Minister of Home Affairs Miquel Buch will have to go to trial for misfeasance and embezzlement of public money. The Prosecutor's Office accuses him of having hired a Catalan police officer as an adviser to the Department of the Home Affairs so that he could continue as ex-president Carles Puigdemont's bodyguard in exile, and asks that he be sentenced to six years in prison and be barred from office for up to 27 years. The penalty requested for the former Minister is even higher than the one that the Prosecutor's Office wants for the police officer, who is facing four and a half years in prison and a 23-year ban.

The thesis is that the police officer, who was the head of the operational area of the President's bodyguards, left with Puigdemont into exile. Internal Affairs opened an investigation and transferred him to Martorell police station. The Prosecutor's Office believes that the officer used up his holidays to stay on as Puigdemont's bodyguard and when he ran out, Buch signed him as an adviser so that he continued on the Department of Home Affairs' payroll to protect the former president.

Buch declared just a year ago before the High Court of Justice of Catalonia. He then claimed that he had signed the agent as an adviser and said he did not know what he did in his free time. He also provided a series of reports that the adviser supposedly completed to justify his work. But the Prosecutor's Office believes that these are documents were created for the court case and says they are full of vague statements.

More than €50,000

According to prosecutor Pedro Ariche, during the time the bodyguard was hired as an adviser he was paid €52,721. The Prosecutor's Office wants Buch and the officer to return the money to the public coffers. In fact, to ensure that this happens in case of conviction, the prosecutor has asked the TSJC to impose a bail of over €70,000.

The bodyguard was employed 224 days (between July 2018 and March 2019), but the prosecutor claims he did not turn up at the Department of Home Affairs a single day. On the contrary, analysing his movements, he explains that he spent "103 days outside Catalonia (in foreign countries), or in displacement, in 20 days the location is unknown and in 101 more days it can be inferred that he was in Catalan territory". On March 2019 the officer sent an email to the former Minister informing him he was giving up his post as an adviser voluntarily.