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Método 3 political espionage case affecting the Catalan PP leader is closed

Barcelona’s High Court has decided to close the case since the leader of the People’s Party (PP) in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, reached an extra-judiciary deal with the espionage agency Método 3. The agency had recorded a private conversation with the former girlfriend of the eldest son of Jordi Pujol, the historical leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). Parts of the alleged recorded conversation involving the Pujol family were leaked, as well as information about their own intimate lives and other PP leader’s private life. Speculations about who ordered the recording pointed towards the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), CiU and even the PP or Sánchez-Camacho herself. Now one of the shadiest political scandals in Catalonia will end without any public conclusions. This contradicts Sánchez-Camacho’s initial statement, when the story was first made public. At the time, she had stated that she would go “until the end” to shed light on the issue.

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09 December 2013 08:07 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona’s High Court has decided to close the so-called ‘Método 3’ case since the leader of the People’s Party (PP) in Catalonia, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, reached an extra-judiciary deal with the espionage agency to put an end to the legal proceedings and avoid going to trial. However, despite the deal, there still was an ongoing criminal investigation, due to the seriousness of such a case. Now, the Court has decided to accept the appeal to close the penal investigation as well, a request that was presented by Sánchez-Camacho, the Método 3 espionage agency, Maria Victòria Álvarez and all the people indicted. Método 3 had recorded in July 2010 a private conversation between the PP leader and Álvarez, the former girlfriend of the eldest son of Jordi Pujol, who is the historical leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). Parts of the alleged recorded conversation involving the Pujol family were leaked, as well as additional information that did no favours to Sánchez-Camacho’s public image. Sexual comments and other PP leader’s private life details were published, as well as Sánchez-Camacho allegedly talking about having good connections with people in the Spanish Police and the public prosecutor’s office who could launch investigations.


The scandal arose in early 2013 and, since then, there have been months of speculations about who had ordered the recording; the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), CiU and even the PP and Sánchez-Camacho herself have been in the spotlight and their behaviour deemed suspicious. In fact, the Director of Método 3 stated that somebody close to Sánchez-Camacho had ordered the recording. The case caused a true upset in Catalan politics, since it has involved three of the main political parties (representing two thirds of the Parliament), it revealed dirty political espionage practices and those responsible are still unknown.

Sánchez-Camacho stated she would “go until the end” but later she asked for closing the case

This political espionage affair, which is one of the shadiest episodes in Catalan politics in decades, will end without any public conclusions and without knowing who was behind the whole issue. This contradicts Sánchez-Camacho’s initial statement, when the story was first made public. At the time, she had stated that she would go “until the end” to shed light on the affair.  However, a few months later she sought an extra-judiciary agreement that was aimed at – and finally did – avoid going to trial, listen to the entire recorded conversation and learn who ordered it and to which purpose. The judge investigating the case and the public prosecutor do not share the Court’s decision to close the case and would like to pursue their penal investigation and ultimately hold a trial.

The Court has accepted the appeal presented by Sánchez-Camacho, Alvarez, Método 3 and all the people indicted to close the case

The Audiència de Barcelona (Barcelona’s Highest Provincial Court) has validated the extra-judiciary agreement between the PP leader in Catalonia and espionage agency Método 3. The Court has announced on Monday it was closing the case. Indeed, it considered that the espionage agency had already apologised and compensated Sánchez-Camacho by reaching the deal and paying her €80,000. The Court has decided to put an end to the ongoing penal investigation, without having reached any definitive conclusion, by accepting the appeal presented by all the people involved in the case.

A penal investigation was ongoing despite the extra-judiciary deal

The investigation was still ongoing since the agreement had put an end to the civil responsibilities but not to penal ones. Given Sánchez-Camacho’s public notoriety and considering that an illicit recording is a felony and that further felonies might have been committed, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and an investigation judge had continued to analyse evidences and gather testimonies, building a penal case. In fact, last July, after the agreement between Sánchez-Camacho and Método 3, the PSC’s CFO Lluïsa Bruguera was indicted for this case and José Zaragoza, the party’s former Organisation Secretary was supposed to testify in front of the judge. Now the process is stopped. However, in the event of further evidences, the investigation could be re-opened but only partially, only regarding the areas directly affected by the new evidences.

Parts of a juicy and embarrassing conversation are leaked

The conversation between Sánchez-Camacho and Maria Victoria Alvarez took place in July 2010 in Barcelona’s La Camarga restaurant. The former girlfriend of Jordi Pujol’s eldest son allegedly revealed intimate details about the Pujol family and their private lives and businesses to the PP party leader. In addition, many other subjects came up in the conversation, were also leaked and published by several media. Provided the leaked parts are true, Sánchez-Camacho allegedly would have stated she had public prosecutors and Spanish Police officers whom she trusted and that investigations could be launched on demand. Furthermore, the two women would have shared intimate details of their own lives as well as information about the private life of some PP leaders. However, since there has not been a trial, the authenticity of the conversation has not been fully validated and neither the possible felonies disclosed will be fully investigated.

Was Sánchez-Camacho aware of the recording?

The Director of Método 3, Francisco Marco, publicly stated that someone close to Sánchez-Camacho had ordered the recording. Therefore, according to this statement, the PP leader could have been aware she was being recorded or could even have ordered the recording herself. Besides, the other major speculation regarding the recording’s authorship was that the PSC had requested it. For this reason the party’s CFO Lluïsa Bruguera was indicted, her computer confiscated and the Organisation Secretary, José Zaragoza, was to testify in front of the judge. The appeal presented by all the people involved and accepted by the Court puts an end to all these investigations and buries the affair without having reached any conclusion and with many speculations on the air.

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  • La Camarga restaurant, where the recorded conversation took place (by ACN)

  • La Camarga restaurant, where the recorded conversation took place (by ACN)