Prosecuted former cabinet ordered to pay €2.13m or face confiscation
Spanish Supreme Court gives two working days to Puigdemont government members after prosecuting all of them for misuse of funds
The Spanish Supreme Court has ordered all former Catalan cabinet members to pay 2.13 million euros. Carles Puigdemont and all his former ministers have been given two working days to gather around 150,000 euros each, which means they will have until the middle of next week to meet the judge's demand. Otherwise, they will face having their assets confiscated, said the judge in a ruling on Friday. The reasons given include making sure that any fines that might result from the upcoming trial are paid.
All of the officials were charged on March 23 with misuse of funds for allegedly using public money to pay for the unilateral referendum on October 1, 2017. Nine of the 14 former officials will also face trial for rebellion. While the former crimes carry sentences of up to eight years in prison, the latter might result in up to 30 years behind bars. The indictment of the 14 leaders and 11 other pro-independence politicians and activists was confirmed on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the Spanish Supreme Court rejected the appeals to avoid trial made by the Catalan leaders involved in the pro-independence judicial case. Thus, the 25 politicians and activists investigated are officially being prosecuted for several different crimes, including 13 of them for rebellion. Those not in exile will be judged in a trial expected to take place in the autumn. The Spanish penal code states that individuals prosecuted for rebellion and who are in pre-trial detention are automatically suspended from public office until a verdict is reached.
MPs could be stripped of their seats
The Spanish Supreme Court has to release a decree making it official –doing so will mean that five jailed leaders will be suspended as MPs, including the former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras and four deposed ministers. Depending on how the law is interpreted, the exiled officials Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín could also temporarily lose their seats in Parliament.
Transferring jailed leaders to Catalan prisons
Meanwhile, the Spanish government has begun the process to transfer jailed pro-independence leaders from prisons in the Madrid area to penitentiaries in Catalonia, following requests from the imprisoned politicians who want to be closer to home. So far, Supreme court judge Pablo Llarena has greenlighted the transfer of two activists, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, as well as that of former parliament speaker, Carme Forcadell, and former ministers Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa.