NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?

Leader of Spanish extreme right organisation Manos Limpias arrested for coercion

The Spanish Police’s division for Economic and Fiscal crimes (UDEF) arrested this Friday Miguel Bernard, the leader of Spanish extreme right organisation Manos Limpias, for having allegedly extorted several banks and companies, asking them for money in exchange for not promoting legal actions against them. Luis Pineda, the president of the Association of Banking Users, Ausbanc, has also been arrested for the same crime and the investigation is still ongoing. Manos Limpias is a trade union of public employees, which has promoted several investigations and judicial procedures concerning different public figures and renowned companies in Spain. In 2014 they presented a criminal complaint against former Catalan President Artur Mas for charges of rebellion and sedition and also sued pro-independence grassroots organisation Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and its former President, Carme Forcadell.

 

SHARE

15 April 2016 02:37 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The leader of Spanish extreme right organisation Manos Limpias, Miguel Bernard, was arrested this Friday by the Spanish Police’s division for Economic and Fiscal crimes (UDEF). Bernard, who used to be Secretary General of the extreme right party Fuerza Nueva and was close to Franco regime member Blas Piñar, has been accused of having extorted several banks and companies, asking them for money in exchange for not promoting legal actions against them. Luis Pineda, the president of the Association of Banking Users, Ausbanc, has also been arrested for the same crime and the investigation is still ongoing. Manos Limpias is a trade union of public employees, which has promoted several investigations and judicial procedures concerning different public figures and renowned companies in Spain. In 2014 they presented a criminal complaint against former Catalan President Artur Mas for charges of rebellion and sedition and also sued pro-independence grassroots organisation Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and its former President, Carme Forcadell. 


Besides Bernard and Pineda, 9 other people have been arrested so far by order of judge Santiago Pedraz, from Court of Instruction number 1 of the Spanish Audiencia Nacional. They were accused of several crimes, including coercion, extortion and criminal organisation.

Catalan Government Spokeswoman Neus Munté called for the investigation to go “until the end” and pointed to Manos Limpias as one of the main “promoters” of the “judicial campaign against the debating of ideas”.

Manos Limpias’ crusade against Catalonia’s push for independence

In February 2014, Manos Limpias fuelled a judicial campaign against Catalonia’s auto-determination right and its push for independence. First, the extreme right organisation presented a criminal complaint against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for “sedition”, “rebellion”, “perverting the course of justice” and “disobeying judicial authority”. According to the plaintiffs, the Catalan President used all means available to achieve Catalonia’s independence, including the creation of new ‘state-structures’, disobeying the Constitutional Court and giving statements that point towards holding a consultation vote and violating the Spanish Constitution. In the complaint, Manos Limpias called for Mas to be interrogated as a suspect, while several Catalan politicians would be witnesses. The organisation also requested an examination of the Catalan budget since 2010 and several decrees and agreements approved by the Government.

Several months later, Bernard sent a complaint to the Director of the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office against the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the pro-independence grassroots organisation responsible for the massive pro-independence demonstrations on the 11th September. Manos Limpias accused the ANC of fostering "insurrection" for having issued a road map that proposed declaring independence from Spain. They also sued ANC’s President at that time, current Parliament President Carme Forcadell, for "provoking sedition", as they considered her "the driving force" and the "leader of Catalan civil society".

Moreover, the extreme right organisation filed a criminal complaint against the 33 judges who signed the manifesto in favour of Catalonia’s right to self-determination in March 2014. The Disciplinary Commission of Spain’s Judicial Power Council (CGPJ) ultimately stated that the judges’ support did not break any norm as from “a strictly legal” point of view, the 33 Catalan judges – some of them very senior – were expressing “an opinion on an issue of legal, social or political interest” and such an action “is protected by fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of expression and opinion, guaranteed by Article 20 of the Constitution”. 

SHARE

  • The Spanish Police seraching at Manos Limpias' headquarters, in Madrid (by ACN)

  • The Spanish Police seraching at Manos Limpias' headquarters, in Madrid (by ACN)