Barcelona mayor testifies in court over subsidies case
Colau's defence denounces lobbies' "bad faith" behind the lawsuit
BarcelonaA month and a half after a court admitted a lawsuit against the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau will appear in court. She stands accused of malfeasance, fraudulent hiring, embezzlement, influence peddling and prohibited negotiations. The plaintiff is an association which accuses Colau of having arbitrarily allocated money from City Council coffers to charities and campaign groups close to her party, including the Platform of People Affected by Mortgages (PAH), of which Colau was a founder and spokesperson.
The legal team defending Colau insists that the subsidies were granted correctly and denounces plaintiffs' "bad faith" for taking to court a case that has already been dismissed by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office. In fact, criminal lawyer Àlex Solà, member of Colau's defence team, together with lawyer Olga Tubau, assures that the same lawyer who filed the first lawsuit signed the second one, on behalf of "the same people", who now use a different charity for their actions. "It is one more example of the abuse of the judicial system by certain pressure groups," councillor for Rights Marc Serra said.
Denial of irregularities
Colau's defence denies any type of "irregularity", both in the criminal and administrative spheres. According to Solà, if the subsidies had been contested "they would not have been annulled", because they were processed as the law states, he assures. "It is a matter of time before the case is dismissed," the lawyer says, who has always insisted on the "ideological" bias of the complaint. In the same vein, Serra recalls that the eleven lawsuits filed so far by different organisations against Colau and other members of her government team have ended up being dismissed.
When the judge accepted the new complaint and summoned Colau to testify as a defendant, he asked the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office to send him all its files. He also rejected the mayor's defence's appeal, recalling that the fact that the Public Prosecutor's Office closed the case does not mean that a court cannot re-investigate it if it considers that there may be evidence of crimes. The defence has provided the court with eight reports on the operation of the subsidies and their awarding, in which they recall, among others, that according to the current procedure, as mayor, Colau did not sign the awards