The Spanish Supreme Court judge overseeing the case against pro-independence leaders has been unable to fully prove the charge of misuse of funds against Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in his extradition case.
In a report sent to the Schleswig-Holstein court in Germany, judge Pablo Llarena stated that he did not have the information of Spain’s treasury minister at his disposal in order to inform the German in a “definitive way” on the details of the case. The Spanish treasury minister Cristóbal Montoro recently affirmed in an interview with the newspaper ‘El Mundo’ that no public money was used neither for the referendum nor its preparation.
Llarena explained that at the beginning of May he asked for information from the treasury proving that there was no misuse of public funds, and with “the utmost haste.” The Supreme Court judge also maintained that after Montoro’s interview with the Spanish daily, various imprisoned Catalan leaders denied the misuse of funds, citing the declaration of the treasury minister in order to defend their innocence.
Sources from the Spanish treasury have explained that two types of information will be sent: the report itself and all the accounting information related to Spain’s control over Catalan government accounts.
In the report sent to the Schleswig-Holstein court, Llarena also reviews information provided by Spain’s Guardia Civil with “indications” that he considers show that public money was allocated to the October 1 independence referendum for its promotion and also in payments to courier service Unipost to send out more than five million ballot cards.
Up until now, the Guardia Civil has maintained that 1.9 million euros of public money was used to pay for the referendum.
Awaiting extradition decision
Carles Puigdemont currently resides in Berlin. He was arrested in Germany whilst returning to Belgium, where he was previously seeking refuge from the Spanish justice system, from Finland where he had been invited by Finnish MP Mikko Kärnä.
German judges in Schleswig-Holstein, where Puigdemont was held, rejected the allegations of rebellion in their first decision over the dismissed leader’s extradition. A new report was presented for his extradition by the Spanish judiciari, still containing the charge of rebellion as well as misuse of public funds. The case is ongoing.
On Saturday, Puigdemont’s candidacy Junts per Catalunya decided to propose him as candidate for the presidency of Catalonia again making the most of a motion passed in parliament that would allow him to be sworn in from Germany. His bid is unlikely to succeed, however, as Spain is ready to challenge the reform in its Constitutional Court.