Agents of Unit of Economic and Fiscal Delinquency (UDEF) of police have initiated at first hour of this Thursday a large police deployment in Barcelona that includes entry and register in seat of Diputación of Barcelona, in several offices of Generalitat and in E Mpresas and non-profit organizations of Barcelona, Tarragona and Girona. Thirty arrests are planned, of which 24 have already been practised, according to sources of research. One of arrested is former president of Diputación de Barcelona Salvador Esteve Figueras. In addition, re is a presumably implicated graduated. The device, baptized as Operation Estela, seeks to collect documentation on alleged millionaire diversion of public funds destined to programs of aid to cooperation and development. Some of se funds, according to police suspicion, were used to cover Catalan independence process.More information
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The police suspect that se funds amounted to about 10 million euros and that some of m ended up being used allegedly in financing of illegal referendum last October 1. Judicial sources consulted by this newspaper clarify, however, that operation, which is under secrecy of summary, has credited to date that development aid funds were diverted to particular pockets of those involved. The High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has clarified that detainees are attributed offences of prevarication, traffic of influences, embezzlement of public flows, documentary falsehood and fraud of subsidies. In a note, moreover, TSJC has pointed out that fraud amounts to "a minimum value of two million euros".
The holder of Barcelona Court of Instruction, Joaquín Aguirre, investigates a plot of fraud of subsidies through companies and foundations of scope of cooperation. The dossiers analyzed affect development programs in Latin American countries and also in Morocco or Bosnia, among ors, organized between 2012 and 2015, according to TSJC. The magistrate has ordered a score of records in "professional offices, firms, domiciles and companies" in cities of Barcelona, Manresa, Olot, Tordera, and city of Reus. About half a thousand agents have participated in registers, some of whom have moved from Madrid.
The research focuses on tracing final destination of certain subsidies from Barcelona Provincial council which, in principle, should be aimed at providing technical assistance to developing countries, such as water and waste collection projects, in areas Disadvantaged. According to first estimates of UDEF, at least 10 million of euros never reached se projects solidarity but y served for personal gain and, presumably, to finance procés. The TSJC attributed to lattice a "minimum" fraud of two million euros and does not refer to connections with independence process. Sources of research emphasize that several of those involved have a "strong independence commitment" and that some of m are at forefront of companies linked to Catalan secessionist process.
Among suspects involved re is a graduated, deputy of Junts per Catalunya in Catalan parliament Francesc Dalmases. The police link deputy Dalmases with millionaire fraud, carried out allegedly through some of entities involved. The parliamentarian is also part of Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation, member of Asociación IGMAN Acció Solidaria, director of CATmon Foundation — whose main objective is "work of knowledge and international recognition of Catalan nation "and whose web is out of service this Thursday — and director of magazines ONGC and Catalan International View. The investigations of UDEF reveal that money of subsidies transited anomalously between bank accounts of IGMAN, CAtmon and mercantile company Discatimat S. L, to finally be reinstated in cash or destined to cover expenses of Procés or to terminate in personal accounts of investigated.
Sources of research add that several of people who are going to be arrested "are people very close to" new president of Generalitat. The majority of those involved have held managerial and technical positions in Catalan public bodies. To confirm suspicions of investigators, one of alleged ways of financing of procés would be uncovered, one of questions in which justice has had so far more problems to obtain solid evidence.
So far, investigation into funding of Procés — led by Guardia Civil — had found serious difficulties in compiling evidence of alleged use of public funds to pay for 1 October expenditure. In its latest reports, armed institute pointed to deviation of 1.9 million euros, but admitted that in large part expenditure had not come to produce. One of few games he claimed to have found evidence — he collected invoices and card payments — was intended to finance stay in Barcelona of international observers for referendum and to covered Diplocat (Council of Diplomacy Public of Catalonia), an organism dependent on n-counselor and now imprisoned Raül Romera.
In particular, agents accredited deviation of 192,368.86 euros. Part of that money was sent by transfers to Hague Center for Strategic Studies (responsible for providing observers), which were paid through this system 119,700 euros, and with which re was also a "payment commitment" for 47,365 euros. In international observers ' section, Civil Guard also incorporated what it calls "logistics-related expenses" by displacement of se to Catalonia for 1-O. According to breakdown that researchers make, this game amounted to 40,591.22 in hotels, flights and "acts". The agents placed Romeva as "ultimate responsible" for se expenses.