Spain’s Attorney General Dolores Delgado (PSOE) Says the Supreme Kangaroo Court Trial against the Catalan Pro-Independence Leaders Over the Referendum Was an Example of “Legality”

The former Minister of Justice of PSOE in the last legislature and new Spain’s Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, affirmed on Monday during the opening ceremony of the judicial year, presided over by King Felipe VI, that the trial of the pro-independence leaders was “a criminal trial of special significance at all levels” where the various legal operators involved “have set an example of institutional normalcy and commitment to duty and legality.”

According to Delgado, the Public Prosecutor’s Office is an institution “close” to the citizens and “a decisive pillar in the defense of legality and democracy and the rule of law. The vocation for public service has been what encouraged the work of prosecutors during 2019,” she said (despite being a politicized institution that has proven to be one of the arms of the repression against the Catalans).

Delgado said that the trial of the pro-independence leaders was held with the additional “guarantee” of “enhanced advertising” because it was broadcast “streaming” through television and radio.

She recalled that the sentence stated that “the facts of the case constituted a crime of sedition and an aggravated crime of embezzlement of public money” and concluded that they had been undertaken “in medial competition” so that the embezzlement could be considered the means “to commit sedition.”

“This culminated a criminal process of special importance at all levels, where the various legal operators involved have set an example of institutional normalcy and commitment to duty and legality,” she concluded.

No reference was made to the flight of King Emeritus Juan Carlos to a country without an extradition treaty with Switzerland or to investigations into his alleged irregular businesses.

Judge Keeps Suspension of Open Prison Regime for Jailed Catalan Leaders Junqueras, Rull, Turull, Romeva and Sànchez

The judge of the 5th Court of Prisons has decided to maintain once again the suspension of the open prison regime for Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva and Josep Rull until the Supreme Court resolves the appeals filed by the prosecution against the classification of the political prisoners. The judge has again rejected the appeals filed by the defense.

In a statement, the judge said that the arguments of the defense are the same as those already used in the appeal filed against the first ruling on July 28, in which he suspended the execution of the open regime. That appeal was answered in the ruling of August 11. On August 19, the same court upheld the open prison regime but insisted that the suspension should be maintained pending the Supreme Court ruling.

This decision comes after Spanish prosecutors requested the suspension of the lowest security prison regime for seven of the 9 political prisoners: Oriol Junqueras, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Sànchez, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, and Jordi Turull.

Another judge decided to maintain the open prison regime for jailed Catalan leaders Carme Forcadell and Dolors Bassa until the Supreme Court makes a final decision on the prosecutor’s requests.

A final decision on the Catalan political prisoners’ jail regime will still have to be made by the Supreme Court for the nine political prisoners in the next few months.

The Catalan Government to Seek Negotiations in Brussels if Madrid Denies Self-Determination

Catalan President Quim Torra announced during an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN) his intention of seeking negotiations with the EU if Spain continues denying the Catalans their right-to self-determination. It comes after “finding” that conversations with Madrid so far has only translated into “photos.”

“It is enough to deceive us. But are they willing to negotiate self-determination? If not, we will negotiate in Brussels and we will not waste any more time.”

The President affirms that his administration will only meet with the PSOE and Podemos government if they write on a paper the conditions for a referendum and amnesty for the political prisoners. “If we don’t see it on a paper, we will not go to the negotiating table again, and we will go to Europe instead” he warned. In this line, the head of government urges Madrid to answer whether or not it is “willing” to negotiate self-determination.

“Have we come to the conclusion that it is impossible for a pro-independence activist to be judged with state neutrality? And have we concluded that they are about to disqualify a president for displaying a banner calling for freedom of expression? The same will happen with the dialogue then, and we will only find negotiation outside the [Spanish] state,” he asserted.

Unity

Torra asks pro-independence forces to achieve a programmatic agreement on self-determination. “What I expect from the parties is a clarification in their electoral programs on how we can move forward towards the Catalan republic,” he explained. According to the President, it is necessary to “clarify” the commitment to “exercise the right to self-determination again.”

Unionism

The President also asked the Catalan unionism to make its own self-criticism with proposals on how to deal with the current situation: “How do they plan to address the fact that the state cares very little or nothing about the funds that correspond to Catalonia?” he asked.

Elections

Spain’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing on Catalan president Quim Torra’s disqualification on September 17. If the judges confirm the disqualification ruled by the Spanish high court in Catalonia (TSJC), Torra would be ousted from his position.

The President affirmed last year that he would call for elections before being disqualified, which could happen in the next few weeks. It remains unknown whether he has changed his mind due to the Covid-19 health crisis.

The Spanish Government Still Provides Protection For Former King Juan Carlos I

On Monday, Spain’s interior minister, Marlaska, confirmed that the Spanish government was still providing protection for former King Juan Carlos I, who fled the country last week over allegations of corruption and money laundering. He is believed to have settled in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi. The cost per night is over €10,000.

Marlaska: “It is reasonable and timely that the Minister of the Interior does not give any information about it [where the King is], but what no one can forget is that we are talking about the person who was the head of State in Spain. His security obviously concerns the Spanish state.”

PM Pedro Sánchez affirmed that he didn’t know the whereabouts of the monarch, but the minister of the interior’s statements suggests his administration is closely monitoring the former king’s steps.

Last week, the state-owned public broadcaster RTVE revealed that the government had been negotiating the self-imposed exile of the monarch with the Royal House over a period of weeks, meaning it had helped the monarch to flee the country.

Investigations

Juan Carlos is under investigation in Spain for his role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium landed a €6.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail line between the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating a $100 million bank account held by the monarch in the country. According to the investigations, Juan Carlos allegedly received a “donation” of $100 million from the king of Saudi Arabia that he put in an offshore account in 2008. A few years later, he allegedly “gifted” 65 of those millions from that account to his ex-lover Corinna Larsen.

It is still too early to know whether Swiss and Spanish justice will convict the former king, Juan Carlos I, of corruption and money laundering. However, this case has already shown that the Spanish government has helped someone under investigation over corruption and money laundering to flee the country and is still providing him protection. There is, then, little doubt the Spanish administration is trying to shore up the 78 regime.

The Self-Proclaimed “Most Progressive Government in History” Helps Former King, Juan Carlos I, Flee Spain Over Corruption and Money Laundering Allegations

On Monday, the Spanish Royal House confirmed what many already knew: former King Juan Carlos I had fled Spain following allegations of crimes of corruption and money laundering that have harmed the reputation of the monarchy including his son, King Felipe VI. According to the Spanish media, Juan Carlos is currently staying in a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

He is currently under investigation by the Spanish Supreme Court for his role in a deal in which a Spanish consortium landed a €6.7 billion contract to build a high-speed rail line between the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca.

Swiss prosecutors are also investigating a $100 million bank account held by the monarch in the country. According to the investigations, Juan Carlos allegedly received a “donation” of $100 million from the king of Saudi Arabia that he put in an offshore account in 2008. A few years later, he allegedly “gifted” 65 of those millions from that account to his ex-lover Corinna Larsen.

The former king lost his immunity in June 2014 following his abdication, meaning he can be tried in Spain, though there are suspicions the Spanish Supreme Court, a body never reformed during the so-called “transition,” could favor him.

The self-proclaimed “most progressive government in history” officially said it “respected” the decision of the King Emeritus to leave Spain. The state-owned public broadcaster RTVE revealed that the government had been negotiating the self-imposed exile of the monarch with the Royal House over a period of weeks.

Podemos party said that they did not know anything about the negotiations, even though they are a part of the government. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, Podemos should have quit the coalition immediately. Instead, its leader, Pablo Iglesias, called for people to understand that PSOE and Podemos have different views of the monarchy and ruled out any risk of rupture of the coalition government.

What Podemos seems to forget is that they are co-responsible for any action taken by the government — they form part of it. The reality is that their government allegedly helped Juan Carlos flee the country in the midst of serious investigations for alleged corruption and money laundering — this is unacceptable.

Sooner or later, an international independent investigation should take place into how Juan Carlos fled the country. Many clarifications are still needed:

– Did he flee the country with an official plane?

– Does he still have an official escort?

– Has the government provided him any financial assistance?

– What government/s are giving him sanctuary?

– Who allowed him to go?

– What are the legal aspects of this?

– Did the government do anything illegal in negotiating his exit while he is being investigated?

– etc.

Whether this investigation will take place in the future is still unknown, but this case has already shown that the so-called “most progressive government in history,” is not so very progressive and is actually contributing to the shoring up of the 78 regime.

The Spanish Government and the Prosecutor’s Office Break Dialogue by Suspending the Open Prison Regime for Seven Catalan Political Prisoners

Between Tuesday and Thursday, two courts suspended the open prison regime for the Catalan political prisoners Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Jordi Sànchez, Quim Forn, Jordi Cuixart, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull. They were all forced to re-enter prison.

This decision came after the public prosecutor’s office, under the Spanish government’s control, appealed against allowing them to benefit from the open prison regime because according to the prosecutor, giving them this category creates “a sense of impunity.”

The judges’ sudden decision confirmed the impossibility of dialogue with the state. From now on, they will not be able to have either the open prison regime or the 100.2 regime, so they will not be able to go out to work either.

During the election campaign Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez affirmed he was controlling the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Due to lack of interest or fear of a crisis among prosecutors, there has not been any change in trend in relation to the pro-independence leaders in comparison with the previous administration.

Reactions in the pro-independence camp

Catalan president Quim Torra said that it was an act of “vengeance” and warned the Spanish government that it must “demonstrate a desire to end hostilities against the independence movement” for dialogue to be able to take place.

Catalan Vice-President, Pere Aragonès, accused the Spanish government of “rupturing” talks and warned that negotiations were not possible without amnesty.

Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Sànchez: “It’s time to stop giving them votes,” he said, referring to ERC’s support of the Spanish government.

Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Cuixart: “We do not want an individual solution for each of us. We want an end to repression, amnesty and a political solution to the political conflict. You have no obligation to obey unjust laws. You must disobey as many unjust laws as necessary.”

Jailed Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras: “They are afraid of us because they know that they will not beat us at the polls. That is why they want to exercise influence through imprisonment and repression and forced exile, because they cannot exert influence through social and parliamentary channels,” he said.

Jailed Catalan leader Quim Forn said that every act of repression makes them, the political prisoners, stronger.

Jailed Catalan leader Josep Rull warned that the Supreme Court has had to “scrap its own rule of law” and reinterpret prison law to jail them again.

Jailed Catalan leader Jordi Turull called for unity between pro-independence forces.

The Spanish Supreme Court ruling on the Catalan political prisoners last October does not establish any clause that inmates must serve a given percentage of the sentence before accessing leave permits. However, the high court has suddenly declared itself competent to decide on this matter meaning the repression against the Catalan political prisoners and the pro-independence movement is not going to lessen in the foreseeable future.

Newspaper El Confidencial Reveals the Existence of a Secret Document that Implicates Spain King’s Emeritus Juan Carlos I with the Management of an Instrumental Company to Hide €64.8 Million from Saudi Arabia

On Tuesday, newspaper El Confidencial announced that it had access to a private document signed by Spain’s King’s emeritus, Juan Carlos I, which implicates him in the management of an “offshore” structure used to “hide” €64.8 million euros from Saudi Arabia. In the three documents, Juan Carlos I appears as the first beneficiary of the funds of the Panamanian society, the Lucum Foundation. His son and current King appears as second beneficiary.

The documents show that the Lucum Foundation was created in Panama on July 31, 2008, by a Swiss financial manager, Arturo Fasana, and the lawyer Dante Canonica. Fasana became the president, and Canonica secretary.

The Lucum Foundation was created to act as a front for an account in Switzerland at the Mirabaud bank that received “a donation of €64.8 million made by the King of Saudi Arabia to the King of Spain.”

On March 10, 2011, the Swiss lawyer and Arturo Fasana established the internal regulations by which it would be governed. The new statutes nullified “any previous regime” of the company and appointed Juan Carlos I, King of Spain (Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón) as true owner of the foundation, born on January 5, 1938 in Rome, Italy, meaning that the €64.8 million donation by Saudi Arabia was now property of the Spanish monarch, according to the secret documents. The monarch enjoyed full rights to “freely dispose of the assets of the foundation during his lifetime without any limitation.”

The documents also reveal that if Juan Carlos I died, the money would be under the control of the “second beneficiary,” the current King Felipe VI, “Prince Felipe of Bourbon and Greece, Prince of Asturias, born on January 30, 1968 in Madrid.”

“Following the death of the first beneficiary, the second beneficiary will have the right to dispose of all the assets of the foundation, without any limitation,” the document states.

The conditions for accessing the money
There were some conditions required for Spain’s King Felipe V to access the money from the foundation. According to the documents, the current head of state had to comply the stipulations in his father’s will that the funds that remained after his death be used to “guarantee the maintenance of all members of the Spanish royal family, in particular, from SM Queen Sofía of Spain, to S.A.R. the Infanta Elena de Borbón y Grecia, Duchess of Lugo, and her children born or to be born, of S.A.R. the Infanta Cristina de Borbón y Grecia, Duchess of Palma of Mallorca, and her children born or to be born.”

In other words, in practice, the entire royal family and even possible new members, such as future children of the infantas, appeared as beneficiaries of the account in Switzerland.

Dissolution in 2012
The foundation was dissolved in September 2012. By then, the King Emeritus had only spent a small part of the €64.8 million ($100 million at the time) that he had received from Saudi Arabia as an alleged donation. The monarch transferred the remaining money to his then lover, Corinna Larsen, and closed the Panamanian structure.

Catalan Interior Ministry Announces that 50 Catalan Police Officers (Mossos) Are Under Investigation for Alleged Irregularities and Violence, but only One Officer Has Been Suspended

On Monday, the Catalan Interior Ministry presented an audit to assess possible police irregularities and announced that 50 Catalan police officers (Mossos) were under investigation for their alleged violence during the protests against the sentencing of jailed Catalan pro-independence leaders last October.

The officers under investigation are being tried in 34 different proceedings. Human rights organizations denounced the excessive use of force by the Catalan and Spanish police during the protests.

Catalan Interior Minister, Miquel Buch, said that there were 877 demonstrations in Catalonia following the Supreme Court ruling. He added that there were “violent episodes” during 20% of these protests. The protests left around 600 people injured, mostly unarmed, peaceful civilians.

Despite the condemnations of police violence by human rights organizations, Eduard Sallent, the head of Catalonia’s police, Mossos, who has been involved in controversies often, defended how the officers dealt with the protests, stressing that their attitude was “mostly passive and defensive.”

For now, only one officer has been suspended, according to Sallent.

The presentation of the audit became mired in controversy because not all media organizations were notified about the event and some journalists were not allowed to attend it despite the fact that there was space inside the Egara auditorium. ERC and CUP deputies also denounced that the parliamentary group that is part of the Interior Committee was not allowed to attend the press conference.

There has been complete secrecy of the Mossos on the audit and alleged irregularities in the last few months. Little information has been released and the presentation of the document earlier this week has raised many questions. Awaiting the outcome of all the investigations currently underway, Catalan society expects openness and more transparency from a police force that is expected to protect all citizens equally regardless of their political affiliation and ethnicity.

News of Spanish King’s Half-a-Million-Dollar Secret Honeymoon Splurge Stokes Ire

Last week The Telegraph newspaper revealed that the extravagant honeymoon of Spain’s Royal Couple, a 2004 trip extending from Cambodia to Fiji, Samoa, California and Mexico, was paid for by his father, then King, Juan Carlos I, who is currently under investigation for alleged corruption.

Josep Cusí, a business friend of Juan Carlos I since the 70s and friend of the dictator Franco, allegedly acted as proxy by footing $269,000 of the $467,000 bill for the current Spanish monarch’s secret honeymoon. According to The Telegraph, Juan Carlos I paid half directly and half indirectly.

Cusí, who has always kept a low profile, is the emeritus king’s close confidant. He has accompanied him during surgical operations and medical check-ups. They have also been together in hunts and private trips. His name appeared in the press in 1984 when he allegedly punched a Spanish journalist in Italy because he had reported that one of his yachts had been sold for $275,000.

Relationship with Dictator Franco

Cusí had a good relationship with Dictator Franco. For twelve years, he traveled to the Pardo palace every Thursday to eat with him, as he confessed during an interview for Radio 4 a few years ago. “We would eat there and then I would give him shooting lessons,” he said.

In the same interview, he confessed to have inherited one of the shotguns of the dictator when he died. “It was an honor for me to receive that gift,” he said.

Relationship with the current king

In 2011, Cusí affirmed to have a good relationship with King Felipe VI. “I met Felipe when he was still in diapers, and we have a great relationship,” he said in an interview.

Following the Telegraph revelations, Spanish society should ask themselves whether the King and his spouse should pay back the money for their 2004 holiday. And if so, how and to who?

Racist Police Assault on a Young Man in Catalonia

On Monday, the anti-racist organization, SOS Racisme, revealed that a young man had suffered a racist assault at the hands of Catalan police officers (Mossos) on January 10th, 2019, in San Felíu Saserra, Catalonia.

The events took place on the afternoon of January 10, 2019, when the victim, Wubi, was leaving his apartment located in the same building in which a police supervised eviction taking place in the same building was underway. SOS Racisme explained how in the parking lot, a group of police officers entered and asked for his identification. As they checked his ID, one of the officers asked him if he was the building’s “gardener,” then “they started throwing garbage bags at him, pushing him, spitting on him and hitting him on the head while making racist insults.”

When Wubi tried to escape from the attack, one of the officers fired a gun at him. Fortunately, the officer missed and the bullet didn’t hit him, according to SOS Racisme. The young man then called his neighbors to warn them, but one of the officers got on the phone and threatened to issue a “search and arrest warrant” for him if he did not return. Faced with this, the young man decided to return while beginning to record the encounter on his cell phone. Once he returned, one of the officers threw him to the ground again, kicked him in the ribs, spat on him and humiliated him with racist insults. “They made me feel worse than shit” the young man said in a statement published by SOS Racisme.

In the audio recorded by the victim and published by the newspaper La Directa, the police officers physically attack the young man while he begs them to stop. “I am a human being just like you,” he said. The officers make racist remarks, such as “you are a monkey, you son of a bitch.” They also told him that the next time he sees the police he will run to Africa. “I’m racist a lot,” said one of the officers.

According to judicial sources, the case about the racist attack was opened in February of 2019 and the officers were charged with a crime of personal injury and a crime against moral integrity. The case is being investigated by the courtroom number 5 of Manresa, the same one that filed the complaint by the police against the victim. The same sources clarify that the six officers investigated were summoned to court last October and exercised their right to not testify. The court case is still open pending further proceedings.

The officers involved in the racist attack have been transferred to different locations and departments during the investigative process, but have not been suspended, granting them impunity.

For SOS Racisme, this case “is not only a consequence of the racist ideology of a group of Mossos officers,” but “is a testament to lack of control mechanisms, impunity, racism and police corporatism.”