Court shelves Barcelona mayor's alleged corruption case
Ada Colau had been accused of irregularly awarding subsidies
A court in the Catalan capital has decided to shelve the case against Barcelona mayor Ada Colau for allegedly awarding subsidies to social rights groups irregularly.
The move, which was announced on Friday not long after midday, comes following a complaint filed by the Association for Transparency and Democratic Quality that accused Colau of perverting the course of justice, embezzlement of public funds, and influence peddling.
According to the plaintiff, the mayor favored organizations such as the DESC Observatory, the PAH grassroots housing group which she herself was a member of before entering office, the Alliance against Energy Poverty, or Engineers Without Borders.
Court finds no wrongdoing
A Barcelona courthouse, however, has discovered no evidence of wrongdoing after studying documentary evidence and hearing testimony from both the mayor and the city council auditor, and ruled that no illicit conduct had occurred.
The judges found that Colau had in fact delegated the granting of subsidies to other council officials and there was no indication that "she had given instructions in this regard," adding that neither they nor the politically independent auditor saw signs of any criminal irregularities.
Colau: "Not surprised"
Colau celebrated the court's decision, but said she was "not surprised" by the outcome as she had a clear conscience, and ventured that the plaintiffs were likely "not surprised either."
"Who is behind this shadow organization? And what was their goal? To make noise, generate headlines, and make it seem like all politicians are the same and are corrupt when this is not true," she said, suggesting that "great economic powers" such as the water utility company were to blame for "stigmatizing" social rights groups and the council.
"We've had 10 complaints that have been shelved one after another," the mayor said.