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Court of auditors summons officials over alleged 2017 referendum spending

Former president Puigdemont and vice president Junqueras among those called to offer explanations

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28 November 2019 11:57 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Spain's Court of Auditors has summoned the Catalan government officials that led the 2017 independence push, including president at the time, Carles Puigdemont – now in exile –, and then vice president, Oriol Junqueras, who is now in jail for his role in those events.

The institution overseeing the public spending called 29 officials and former officials for January 28 next year over alleged public spending related to the 2017 referendum.

Spain's Supreme Court convicted four former ministers of misuse of funds – as well as sedition, also affecting another five leaders – in October.

The people called to attend the Court of Auditors will be able to send a representative, so they are not obliged to attend personally.

Other former cabinet members, including Carles Mundó, Meritxell Borràs, Neus Munté and Santi Vila, have also been summoned.

Foreign action policy in the spotlight

The Court of Auditors also seem to have addressed the Catalan foreign action policy, hence summoning the former Catalan representative before the EU in Brussels, Amadeu Altafaj, and the former head of Diplocat public diplomacy council, Albert Royo.

It is expected that after January 28, the Spanish institution will announce the amounts due to be refunded after the 2017 referendum and who is responsible for it. The sum will be temporarily seized from them.

The referendum leaders repeatedly denied spending a single cent of public money on the vote during their trial, and said they believe it was paid with private funding.

The procedure began one year ago after a lawsuit by the prosecutor's office and the civil society entities Societat Civil Catalana and Catalans per la Constitució.

In another case, the one referring to the unofficial vote on independence held in 2014, the Court of Auditors ruled that Catalan president at the time Artur Mas, and nine people more had to pay 4.98 million euros; otherwise their goods would be seized. This amount was paid through the donations of citizens, and so no goods were seized.

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  • Image of the former Catalan vice president, Oriol Junqueras, with the former president, Carles Puigdemont, in October 2017 (by Pere Francesch)

  • Image of the former Catalan vice president, Oriol Junqueras, with the former president, Carles Puigdemont, in October 2017 (by Pere Francesch)

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