Spanish police operation underway at Barcelona region authority

29 arrested for alleged misuse of funds so far

The headquarters of Barcelona's region authority (by Laura Fíguls)
The headquarters of Barcelona's region authority (by Laura Fíguls) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 24, 2018 02:30 PM

The Spanish police launched an operation on Thursday morning for alleged misuse of funds by the Barcelona region authority, the Diputació de Barcelona body. A judge in Barcelona ordered raids to 20 buildings. At least 29 people have already been arrested, including the authority's former president Salvador Esteve. In the afternoon, he was released after some hours in custody while awaiting judicial summons

The police operation is not related to the pro-independence movement, according to judicial sources. The court in the Catalan capital is investigating an alleged 2 million euro fraud as a result of some irregular financial aid to private organizations related to international cooperation. This supposedly took place in the 2011-2015 Barcelona region authority term. 

In an interview with the Catalan public radio, the Diputació's current president said they were aware of the ongoing investigation, but had not been informed of the reasons behind the raids. "We don't understand it. We've always collaborated with justice," she said.

The raids took place not only in the Barcelona region authority seat in the Catalan capital, but also in some of the investigated organizations across Catalonia. This includes the Catmón Foundation in Reus, which aims to make Catalonia go international, and the Plataforma Educativa in Girona, an organization committed to help vulnerable citizens.