‘I don't know how they paid for the ballot boxes, but not with public funds’
Spanish Treasury minister confirms Catalan government did not pay for referendum; judge asks him to prove it
The Catalan government did not use public funds to pay for the October 1 independence referendum, confirmed the Spanish Treasury Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, in an interview with 'El Mundo' daily newspaper.
In fact, the Spanish government has had control of the Catalan executive’s spending since September last year, and Montoro said that not a single euro of public money was used to finance the vote, declared illegal by Spain.
"I don't know how they paid for the October 1 ballot boxes manufactured in China. But I know it was not with public funds," confirmed Montoro. The Spanish minister suggested that the only way they could have funded it would have been if a civil servant had "counterfeit" bills
However, the deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and all of his ministers are being prosecuted for misuse of public funds. The Spanish Supreme Court says they misspent €1.6 million.
Courts in Germany, Scotland and Belgium are considering a European Arrest Warrant against Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four of his ministers accused of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. The German court of Schleswig-Holstein rejected the rebellion charges but is still considering whether or not there was misuse of public funds in Catalonia and has asked Spain for more details.
Judge asks Montoro for clarifications
On Wednesday, Supreme court judge Pablo Llarena asked Montoro to clarify his statement. He asked him to effectively prove that no public money was used to fund the independence referendum last October.
Montoro's words "contravene" the evidence gathered by the Supreme Court during the pre-trial stage of the case against pro-independence leaders, said Llarena. Therefore, he urged the minister to provide "objective" data to back his statement as soon as possible.