An end to amnesty is unable to prevent the impending trial of Carles Puigdemont in the Court of Accounts. The former Catalan president and around thirty former Generalitat officials will be judged on November 17 by the supervisory body for trying to recover the money that was allegedly diverted to pay for the illegal 1-O referendum and promote the process abroad. The defendants’ defense is considering a request to suspend the hearing, which means delaying its conduct. With this trick, they will have time until the grace measure is approved.
The Court of Accounts is set for November 17 to review the refund procedure for the alleged diversion of funds from 1-O and its foreign action through Diplocat. The supervisory body prosecuted the accounting responsibility of people, like Puigdemont, who managed public funds to recover the money that was used improperly but could not authorized or disqualified. It is, therefore, about a complementary approach to civil or criminal proceedings.
Catalan Civil Society person in the case, asking for reimbursement of 5.3 million euros, while the Prosecutor’s Office reduced the number to 3.1 million that the thirty former leaders of the Generalitat of Catalonia must pay jointly and individually, of which Puigdemont, Oriol Junqueras, and Artur Mas The Public Ministry estimates that the amount transferred exceeded 9.5 million, but changed his first demand.
Puigdemont is from Belgium
Puigdemont must testify at the request of the defense of former President Artur Mas. He will do this via videoconference from Belgium because if he enters Spain, he will be imprisoned under the national arrest warrant issued by the Supreme Court. Unlike a criminal proceeding, none of the defendants are required to attend the trial; it is enough for the lawyers to show up, which makes it difficult for defenses to request suspension based on a witness not appearing.
Postponement can be requested by any of the parties, even if they have not yet done so. The request can be made with the same view. “They are within their rights”, identify the sources consulted by the supervisory body. It is unlikely that the Prosecutor’s Office or Catalan Civil Society will do it.
Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, testified about THE GOAL without even studying the possibility. The defense of the other defendants left the door open, although they did not specify the reasons they said would delay the restitution process, which included the Law on the Operation of the Court of Accounts.
The final word goes to the counsel in charge of prosecuting the case, Elena Hernandez. The hearing held last December rejected Puigdemont’s argument that the process should be suspended due to his immunity as an MEP. Counsel then agreed that he would testify as evidence at trial. If the decision is not favorable to the defense, it has the possibility of being appealed before the Appeals Chamber.
The supervisory body recognizes that this is an express process; it only takes a few hours, and the resolution will be ready in a few days. The defendants’ lawyers know the context. The hearing will be held only 10 days before the deadline for Pedro Sánchez to invest and avoid new elections. To achieve this, the vote of Together for Catalonia Puigdemont’s party, like the ERC, demanded that an amnesty be implemented for all those accused of fraud.
The fact that the measure of grace is on the table does not change the road map, as assured by the Court of Auditors: The trial cannot be suspended because there is no law. It only has effects from its publication. And not always, since there is the possibility of raising an unconstitutional issue before the Constitutional Court, which will leave its application standing. The Court of Auditors also studied this step, although there were no precedents.
The accounting responsibility settled by the supervisory body is a complementary approach to civil or criminal proceedings. The existence of an amnesty for Puigdemont and the other accused of the process This does not mean that they are exempt from the Court of Accounts proceedings because they go through different routes. “It depends on the scope of the amnesty law, which should determine if it eliminates only the criminal responsibilities or also the accounting,” said sources from the organization.
Once the measure of grace also excuses the alleged embezzlement, the state cannot recover more than 10 million public euros, which is said to have diverted the previous positions of the Generalitat to celebrate and promote the process. In that case, experts maintain that the courts are also obliged to return the deposits, which exceeded $10 million. The majority, 7.2 million, was deposited in the Unity box.