Government approves new €10 million risk fund to cover charges such as Court of Auditors fine
Former Catalan officials were given multi-million euro fines for spending on independence push prior to 2017 referendum
The Catalan government has approved setting up a new fund of €10 million to cover fines such as those recently handed out by Spain's Court of Auditors.
In all, some 40 former officials were handed fines totalling millions of euros, including some of the politicians who spent more than three years in prison for their role during the referendum bid and who were pardoned in June by the Spanish government.
On June 30, the Court ordered the money to be repaid within 15 days.
The guarantee will be presented by a financial institution rather than the Catalan government itself. A funds management entity will be set up by the Catalan Institute of Finance.
The news was explained by the minister for the presidency, Laura Vilagrà, and the economy minister, Jaume Giró, during a press conference on Tuesday following the Executive Council meeting.
The government provides coverage for judicial or administrative claims to public workers and senior officials to meet legal obligations that are not covered by insurance policies that had already been taken out.
Giró also pointed out that there will be no transfer of money "at any time" until there is a final ruling.
Giró is confident that the Court of Auditors will "look closely" at the decree law "beyond the noise", and will see that the funds will be paid “without any embezzlement of public money at all."
The €10 million comes from the current budgets of the Catalan government, corresponding to 2020.
Former Catalan president Artur Mas and former finance minister Andreu Mas-Colell face a €2.8m claim for the public funds allegedly spent from 2011 to 2016 on international trips and government offices abroad.
Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and former vice president Oriol Junqueras were ordered to pay €1.98m for their tenure between 2016 and 2017, when Catalonia held a referendum deemed illegal and declared independence.
Another fine was given to the organizers of the 2014 participatory process, a non-binding independence vote that paved the way for 2017's plebiscite.