Sanchez to study Catalan fund, opposition call it a swindle

Spanish And Catalan President To Meet In June

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Madrid will study the legality of a Catalan public fund created to cover the fines imposed on ex-officials by the Court of Auditors.

If the 10 million euro fund is legal, the courts can accept the money, if it is not, it cannot be used to pay fines imposed on dozens of officials for their roles in promoting and facilitating Catalonia’s 2017 independence bid, Sanchez insisted.

“We have always maintained that everything that is approved by all the regional governments has to be subject to the law. Therefore, we are going to study the decision that has been taken and, from there, if it is subject to the law, we have no objections; and if it is not subject to law, then obviously we will have to appeal it. It’s been subjected to an objective study right now. I cannot say anything else,” Sanchez said on July 6.

Meanwhile opposition to Barcelona’s proposal is mounting among Spain’s opposition parties charging it amounts to a great swindling of the Spanish public purse.

“It is outrageous that we Spaniards are going to pay twice out of our own pockets for the coup,” tweeted Ciudadanos member of parliament Edmundo Bal.

On July 7, the government of Catalonia 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 that no transfer will be made to Madrid as yet.

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 on July 6.

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.