Former Chief Constable believes 'Macedonia' case is manoeuvre to "discredit" Catalan police

Trapero defends the innocence of the only Mosso being prosecuted in the case

3 min
E Josep Lluís Trapero

the Barcelona caseFormer Catalan police chief constable Josep Lluís Trapero has returned to court a year and a half after being acquitted by Spain's High Court. This time he has done it to testify as a witness in the trial of an alleged plot of police corruption and drug trafficking, known as the 'Macedonia' case, which had him in the spotlight for nearly a decade. Trapero was never investigated in the case, but for eight years the judge suspected some of his subordinates, members of the Catalan police's anti-corruption unit, over their relationship with an informant, Manuel Gutiérrez Carbajo, whom the prosecution considers the leader of a drug gang. The major agreed with the defence, which claims former superintendent José Manuel Villarejo took advantage of the Macedonia case to discredit Trapero and the Catalan police force.

Trapero has explained in the trial that he was not aware of the former superintendent's involvement in the case, but he has assured that the defense's thesis fits with the suspicions that the Catalan police also had: "They are consistent with the movements that we have detected since 2009, which is how corruption acts, trying to discredit prosecutors, the investigating police officers and a collaborating confidant," Trapero assured. Villarejo's involvement is not part of the case, because the court ruled out questioning him. The court has also refused to include the report by the hitherto chief commissioner for the Catalan's police criminal investigation, Antoni Rodríguez, which pointed in the same direction.

Trapero bit his tongue several times, such as when explaining why he believes the unit led by the sub-inspector Antoni Salleras, later exculpated, ended up being investigated. "Formally to hide information". "There may be some other element, but I'll keep it to myself," he said. However, he has not hesitated to defend the innocence of the only remaining officer indicted in the case, José Ranea, who faces 10 and a half years in prison. He also said that he had no proof that Carbajo –for whom the prosecution is seeking for 11 years in prison– trafficked drugs.

The effects of the clash with a judge

Trapero has not hidden either the disagreements with the judge of the case, the head of Barcelona's Court number 1, Joaquín Aguirre. Just as Salleras did yesterday, Trapero has explained that the relationship cracked when the magistrate asked them to present him with a statement justifying the investigation of sixteen Guardia Civil officers, the corps Aguirre had initially booted out of the investigation of the Macedonia case out of distrust. "If you are proposing that I or the head of the unit ask you and motivate you for an intervention, I can tell you now that this will not happen. If you order it in writing, there will be no problem," he claimed that he told him. Salleras explained on Tuesday that this refusal had "made the judge very angry". "Then I received the effects of this conversation," added Trapero.

The magistrate ended up removing the Catalan police from the investigation of the Macedonia case. Shortly before, at the request of far right union Manos Limpias, he incorporated a report by a Spanish National Police unit that highlighted the number of calls Trapero and Salleras had maintained with Carbajo. According to Carbajo's defense, these were Villarejo's men. "I might have an opinion of what that report was looking for, but I don't think it is relevant here," Trapero said again, biting his tongue.

Trapero insisted that Carbajo was a confidant "of the Prosecutor's Office", with whom the public ministry had asked him to maintain contact because he was a key piece in the case of police corruption around the Riviera and Saratoga brothels in Castelldefels. He has justified the more than 200 calls with the now indicted. He explained that many were only attempts that were not answered and that others were irrelevant conversations, simply to "maintain contact" with the informant.

Carbajo's defense claims that Villarejo took advantage of his role as an informant to fabricate the Macedonia case against the Catalan police to discredit them. The former superintendent's involvement in the case will have no legal consequences, but his shadow looms long over the trial.