Catalonia creates public fund to cover former officials’ fines

Leader of the PP Pablo Casado. Image: Twitter

The government of Catalonia says it will use public funds to pay debts owed to the Court of Auditors in a move that has sparked outcry among Spain’s opposition parties.

The government of Catalonia has created a 10 million euro fund to cover fines meted out to former officials for their alleged roles in the region’s 2017 independence bid. The Court of Auditors in Madrid said they have until July 15 to pay up.

Forty former officials were handed fines, some in excess of 2.5 million euros on June 30.

The fund has been earmarked from the current Catalan budget but ministers said on July 6 that no transfer will be made to Madrid until there is a final ruling.

Former Catalan president Artur Mas and former finance minister Andreu Mas both face fines of 2.8million euros against international trips and government offices abroad between 2011 and 2016.

Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia, and former vice president Oriol Junqueras were ordered to pay 1.98 million each.

Pablo Casado the leader of the opposition Partido Popular (PP) said the fund amounted to “an embezzlement on top of an embezzlement that has already occurred.”

“If Sanchez does nothing, we will appeal this decision and denounce the Generalitat of Catalonia for embezzlement and prevarication, hoping that they will be disqualified for the irregularities they are committing, this time with Sanchez’s complicity,” Casado said.

The PP’s parliamentary spokeswoman, Cuca Gamarra, added on Twitter, “Guarantee the embezzlement with public funds? Embezzlement squared. They already said they did not regret it. They go back to their old ways with everyone’s money.”

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.