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Court claims €4.5 million from independence leaders over foreign policy expenditure

Former presidents Carles Puigdemont and Artur Mas are among those involved in the case centering around Diplocat spending from 2013-2017

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07 May 2021 11:53 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Court of Auditors estimates, provisionally, it could seek to claim €4.55 million for alleged irregular spending at Diplocat, Catalonia’s Public Diplomacy Council, during the independence push between 2013 and 2017. 

Diplocat is an autonomous public-private diplomatic body of the Catalan government, and prominent independence leaders such as former presidents Carles Puigdemont and Artur Mas, former Diplocat head Albert Royo, along with dozens of others are involved in this case.

The Court of Auditors has sent a letter to Royo which the Catalan News Agency has seen, in which the details of the alleged irregular spending is presented. 

The writ also instructs that Royo, Puigdemont, Mas, ex-ministers, and other former senior officials must appear in court on June 29 and 30, although their lawyers may also appear on their behalf. Jailed former vice president Oriol Junqueras, and also imprisoned former foreign minister, Raül Romeva, are also included in the case.

Among the main items the court is studying are the €1.48 million hiring of the services of the NGO Independent Diplomat, subsidies and aid to the Federation of Internationally Recognized Catalan Organizations (FOCIR) for €565,000, €460,000 for visits of international leaders, €382,000 for action and academic awareness, and €308,000 for analysis and foresight. 

Other smaller amounts are included for the hiring of an international press chief, parliamentary, academic, cultural, and sports awareness actions, the involvement of society in debates and election observation, as well as visits of journalists and international opinion leaders.

Separately, a Barcelona local court has opened proceedings against former minister Raül Romeva and nine other former officials of the Catalan government over foreign policy spending. 

The case is open for possible crimes committed with public money for promoting Catalonia’s independence push abroad. 

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  • The front of the Diplocat building, Catalonia's Public Diplomacy Council, as Guardia Civil police officers search its premesis during 2018 (by Elisenda Rosanas)

  • The front of the Diplocat building, Catalonia's Public Diplomacy Council, as Guardia Civil police officers search its premesis during 2018 (by Elisenda Rosanas)

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