Supreme Court rejects Mas' appeal against the Court of Auditors' conviction for 9-N vote
The dismissal comes almost two years after the former president challenged the ruling of the audit body
The Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of former president Artur Mas and part of his last government against the conviction of the Court of Auditors for the 9-N. In November 2018, the auditing body condemned the former president and the former ministers Joana Ortega, Francesc Homs and Irene Rigau and six senior officials to return nearly five million euros spent due to the 9-N (2014 Catalan self-determination voting process). After filing an appeal in the same Court of Auditors -which caused the fine to rise to 5.8 million euros with interest-, they had a free hand to go to the Supreme Court, which almost two years after they filed the appeal has decided not to admit it for processing, in a resolution to which ARA has had access.
To justify the non-admission, the high court argues that the appeal does not meet sufficient requirements: they point out that there is a lack of substantiation. At the same time, the Supreme Court does not endorse the argument of the defense that those involved have been convicted twice for the same facts - the organization of the 9-N referendum - one in the High Court of Justice of Catalonia and another in the Court of Auditors. The high court argues that there are differences between the two sentences and that the promoters of the appeal have not made the exercise of contrasting them.
The defense of the ex president and the ex ministers also justifies in the appeal that the Court of Auditors declared the accounting responsibility of those involved arguing that the facts in question were unconstitutional, when, according to the lawyers, the function of the audit body is not to determine what is constitutional and what is not. Even so, the Supreme Court contests that the arguments of the Court of Auditors to determine the fines for those involved go beyond this point. Moreover, adds the high court, the declaration of unconstitutionality by the audit body does not necessarily entail the declaration of nullity of the sentence.
Thus, the Supreme Court has not only dismissed the appeal of Mas, but also that of seven former ministers and former senior officials convicted of the same facts: Joana Ortega, Josefina Valls, Francesc Homs, Jordi Vilajoana, Ignasi Genovés, Jaume Domingo and Teresa Prohias. In each one of the challenges, the high court uses the same arguments to not admit the appeals.
The road to the Supreme Court
Three years have passed since the Court of Auditors condemned the 9-N government, despite the fact that the defendants were at the same stage as the current case against the foreign policy of the Spanish government in which Mas and Homs are also involved: on September 2017 the Court of Auditors asked them for a 5.2 million euros bail before being judged. Then, they were able to cope with donations from the Caixa de Solidaritat and the guarantee of several properties provided by those involved -finally the Caixa de Solidaritat paid the whole sum-. These properties were seized until the trial, which confirmed the initial fine. After appealing to the same Court of Auditors with the response of a higher fine, almost two years ago they went to the Supreme Court, which this Thursday has decided not to admit their appeal.