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Madrid removes Catalan high ranking official

The Spanish government dismisses the secretary of public information Antoni Molons a day after he was arrested for some hours

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16 March 2018 02:30 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish government has dismissed the Catalan secretary of public information, Antoni Molons, a day after police raided his office and arrested him for some hours as part of an ongoing investigation on last October’s independence referendum.

The decision was announced on Friday after a cabinet meeting. The Catalan administration is directly controlled from Madrid since last October, when the Spanish president Mariano Rajoy dismissed the Catalan government following a declaration of independence.

On Thursday, Spain’s Guardia Civil police entered Molons’ home early in the morning. They would later escort him to his office, where they proceeded with the operation. He was held in order to attend the raids. He was released later in the day charged with misuse of funds and disobedience.

The operation was part of an investigation on the independence referendum—more specifically, on the advertising campaign calling people to participate in the vote. Police officers gathered information in order to know whether public funds were used to promote a referendum deemed illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

Molons’ dismissal was due to him being under investigation, sources say. He is the first Catalan official to be removed since the Spanish government fired the president Carles Puigdemont and all his ministers last October, as well as the Catalan police chief Josep Lluís Trapero and other high ranking officials.

Molons is under investigation by a Barcelona court along some 30 officials. Meanwhile, Spain’s Supreme Court is also investigating another 30 people related to the independence cause—the most senior ones, such as Puigdemont and his ministers—, with Spain’s National Court overseeing an open inquiry into the Catalan police leadership.

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  • The Catalan secretary of public information, Antoni Molons, arrives in his office escorted by police officers (by Guillem Roset)

  • The Catalan secretary of public information, Antoni Molons, arrives in his office escorted by police officers (by Guillem Roset)