Spain's Congress to investigate 'Operation Catalonia' to discredit pro-independence politicians

Former PM allegedly blackmailed sources to obtain compromising information on opponents

Former Spanish president Mariano Rajoy upon losing the vote of no confidence (by ACN pool)
Former Spanish president Mariano Rajoy upon losing the vote of no confidence (by ACN pool) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 16, 2022 10:59 AM

Spain's Congress voted in favor of launching an investigation into 'Operation Catalonia', the alleged strategy used by former conservative PM Mariano Rajoy by which he supposedly blackmailed sources to secure compromising information on pro-independence politicians.

This comes three months after the neighboring microstate of Andorra announced an inquiry into Rajoy and two of his former ministers, Jorge Fernández Díaz and Cristóbal Montoro, where they have been accused of pressuring bank officials in 2014 into providing them with account details of former Catalan president Jordi Pujol and his family and then-president Artur Mas as well as then-vice president Oriol Junqueras.

The congressional investigation, however, will be somewhat broader than the Andorran one as it will look into "the alleged irregularities that link high-ranking officials and police commands, as well as their relationship with possible private networks or lobbies, their possible interference in the sovereignty of other countries and this plot's connections with the so-called 'Operation Catalonia'."

The motion to investigate these allegations was passed in Spain's Congress on Thursday with the support of Catalonia's pro-independence parties Esquerra, Junts, and CUP, as well as the Basque Bildu, Galician BNG, and the Spanish cabinet parties Podemos and the Socialists, who accepted the measure after it was amended to only include former conservative executives.

Junts, which has long taken a more confrontational approach to Spanish authorities than Esquerra, criticized this amendment as "Socialist blackmail" that those in favor of the investigative committee have had to accept as "a lesser evil."

"The Socialist party is not alien to Spain's repression of Catalonia," Junts MP Joan Pagès contended.

The Socialists, meanwhile, highlighted that this would be Congess' fourth investigation into the People's Party's corruption, while the conservative party called it "a desperate attempt to delegitimize" them.