Politics 31/07/2021

Defendants are already preparing a plan B to the Catalan Finance Institute's endorsement

Between real estate and private money they hope to cover the bail

3 min
The headquarters of the Court of Audit in Madrid, in an archive image.

BarcelonaThe possibility that the Court of Auditors will not accept the guarantee that has covered the Institut Català de Finances (Catalan Finance Institute, ICF) for the 34 people who are in the Foreign Affairs case has made their defences move to find a plan B to prevent the former high-ranking officials of the Generalitat from being seized. In fact, this has been the case since the Government realised that no bank would play in the operation to guarantee them, when it was still intended to keep the ICF out of the equation. It could still be left out if, once the Council of Statutory Guarantees has ruled on the constitutionality of the fund, a bank decides to become a guarantor.

According to several sources close to the investigated parties consulted by the ARA, there are different formulas to avoid the generalised seizure of the assets of all those involved in the case, given that the total amount they have to contribute as a precautionary measure is 5.4 million euros. On the one hand, Esquerra has been ready for weeks to mobilise a total of 2.2 million euros, which would serve to cover the alleged accounting responsibility for external activity between 2016 and 2017. In this way, they would liquidate what they are asking the former minister of Foreign Affairs Raül Romeva for this stage and the former vice president Oriol Junqueras, but also the former president Carles Puigdemont.

For their part, former president Artur Mas and former minister Francesc Homs plan to deposit their property to meet the guarantee. It is the case that the two former leaders of CDC (Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya) already had their flats seized in the case of 9 November 2014 and have now been released because the Caixa de Solidaritat has paid the fine that remained once the sentence has become final. In this way, they have been able to take their assets out of this case and put them into the Foreign Affairs case, which also affects them. For the bail that remains to be covered, Junts has also set in motion a collection of private money from militants and sympathisers -as well as the PDECat- and the rest of the defendants also have "real estate guarantees" ready to avoid having their salaries seized.

The planned timetable

Depending on the money that they manage to collect, the Court of Auditors will proceed or not to an embargo of the goods of the defendants. For the time being, it has requested a report from the State Attorney's Office to give its opinion on the legality of the guarantee granted by the Generalitat, which also appears as an injured party in the case, through the Institut Català de Finances (Catalan Finance Institute). When it issues its opinion, the Court of Auditors will decide what to do. Legal sources admit that they do not know how quickly the State Attorney's Office will give its opinion - the Court asked it to do so immediately - but they are confident that they will have August to do so.

Formally, according to the same sources, the month of August is an appropriate time for the phase of the procedure -still in the administrative part-, but they hope that if the ICF guarantee is rejected, it will be notified from September onwards -this is done through a solicitor-. If this were to happen, the defendants would also have a few days more time to put up the money and the real estate guarantees, as the lawyers would be able to go through the resolution.

The Foreign Affairs case represents a sword of Damocles both for the investigated and for the Generalitat, whom the Prosecutor's Office is already investigating precisely because of the guarantee that the ICF has put on the table.

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