The ‘number three’ in the Catalan Socialist Party is indicted for influence peddling
Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) has announced the indictment of Daniel Fernández, a Member of the Catalan Parliament and Organisation Secretary in the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC). Fernández has resigned from his party and Parliamentary positions, but he will continue to be an MP while waiting to find out whether he will go on trial in the end. The High Court believed there to be signs that Fernández could have committed a felony of influence peddling by participating in the irregular hiring process of a manager in one of Greater Barcelona’s municipalities. The anti-corruption prosecutor and the judges investigating the so-called ‘Mercuri’ case, dealing with municipal corruption in Greater Barcelona mostly affecting members of the PSC, asked for Fernández’s indictment to the TSJC since he is an MP.
Barcelona (ACN).- On Friday, Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) announced the indictment of Daniel Fernández, a Member of the Catalan Parliament and the Organisation Secretary in the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC). The High Court believed there to be signs that Fernández could have committed a felony of influence peddling by participating in the irregular hiring process of a manager in one of Greater Barcelona’s municipalities, Montcada-i-Reixac. The anti-corruption prosecutor and the judges investigating the so-called ‘Mercuri’ case, which is a set of interlinked corruption scandals in Greater Barcelona municipalities mostly affecting members of the PSC, asked for Fernández’s indictment to the TSJC since he is an MP. On Friday, Fernández insisted that he has not committed any felony and said that he is looking forward to declaring so in front of the TSJC to put his arguments upfront. However, in order to not interfere with the functioning of the PSC or the Parliament, Fernández has resigned from all his party and Parliament positions, although he will continue to be an MP while he waits to find out whether he will go on trial in the end or not.
A new provisional PSC Organisation Secretary
When the scandal appeared in the media for the first time in late November, Fernández took the decision to temporarily not participate in the party’s decisions any more and de facto not act as Organisation Secretary, although he did not formally resign. On Friday the PSC’s Secretary General, Pere Navarro, stated that he believes in Fernández’s innocence and he asked the justice to act quickly. Furthermore, Navarro announced that temporarily, while Fernández’s situation is not clarified, the party’s new Organisation Secretary will be Esteve Terradas, a relatively unknown person, who is a member of the PSC Executive Committee. Until 2008, Terradas was councilman in Mataró’s Town Hall – a coastal city in the Greater Barcelona Area – and until 2011 he was chief of cabinet in the Spanish Government’s Delegation in Catalonia.
Fernández, suspected of influence peddling
The TSJC thinks that there are enough indications that allegedly Daniel Fernández would have committed a felony of influence peddling. While the judges were investigating the former Mayor of Sabadell Manel Bustos, they wired his phone and recorded some suspicious conversations with Fernández. Bustos resigned last month because he was officially indicted over the ‘Mercuri’ case and the opposition forced his resignation in front of one of Catalonia’s largest cities, at the heart of Barcelona’s Metropolitan Area. The judge investigating the ‘Mercuri’ case and the anti-corruption prosecutor, Fernando Bermejo, suspect that Fernández allegedly participated in the hiring process of Carmina Llumà as the Director of the Territorial Department of Montcada-i-Reixac, a town surrounding the northern highways and railways exiting from Barcelona’s municipality. Apparently the regular selection process would have considered Llumà to be “not suitable” for the position and Bustos and Fernández took action to change Llumà’s status into “suitable”. In a recorded phone conversation between the two, Fernández tells Bustos that he had asked the Mayor of Montcada-i Reixac, Maria Elena Pérez, to ask the Human Resources company in charge of the selection process to change the “not suitable” status into a “suitable”. Bustos tells Fernández to call Pérez and to not trust her “because this girl […] if we do not pressure her a bit she will let herself be influenced by the nasty people who are surrounding her”. In addition, Bustos told Fernández that he would talk to his brother, Francisco Bustos – who is also councilman in Sabadell’s Town Hall – and they would somehow manage to change the status on the human resources file. Last May, Carmina Llumà was hired by the municipality of Montcada-i-Reixac as Director of the Territorial Department.