• Courts Prosecutor's Office asks for 6 years in prison for former Minister Buch for embezzling by assigning an escort to Puigdemont

Last Thursday night, the senior staff of Junts per Catalunya went to Premià de Mar (Barcelona) to a dinner in support of the former Minister of the Interior, Miquel Buch, who next week will sit on the bench in the Audiencia de Barcelona accused of the crimes of embezzlement of public funds and prevarication. The Prosecutor's Office asks for a sentence of six years in prison and 27 years of disqualification from holding public office considering that Buch authorized a sergeant of the Mossos d'Esquadra, also prosecuted in this trial, to be an escort of former president Carles Puigdemont when he was in Belgium after fleeing Spain in 2017.

Numerous representatives of Junts, such as the former ministers convicted by the 1-O Quim Forn, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull, the former presidents of the Generalitat Artur Mas and Jordi Pujol, the former mayor of Barcelona Xavier Trias or the party's candidate for Congress for Barcelona Miriam Nogueras, among many others, attended the dinner in which Buch said that "the only judgment that challenges me is the one that my children will make. and my grandchildren."

However, on Wednesday begins the oral hearing that could condemn him to prison terms like the sergeant of Mossos, Lluís E., who faces four and a half years in prison as a necessary cooperator in the embezzlement of 52,712 public euros, which is what his salary cost when he was appointed as an Interior adviser but exercised the protection of Puigdemont both in Waterloo and in the displacements of the former president through Europe. The prosecutor demands that Buch and the agent pay this amount as civil liability.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, in July 2018 the Department of Interior appointed the policeman as "security systems advisor" although his functions were to "procure, from the Government of the Generalitat and with charges to the public funds of a permanent escort service to the declared rebel defendant" in the case of the Supreme Court Carles Puigdemont, escaped to Belgium. That is why the prosecutor believes that the hiring "constitutes an act of arbitrariness." In addition, he recalls that the sergeant of the Mossos helped Puigdemont in his escape from his home in Sant Julià de Ramis (Girona), like other "public officials" of the regional police force, to France "where he took a plane that took him to Belgium". From that action the Internal Affairs Division of the Mossos opened an investigation against the sergeant for a serious offense.

In this way, the Prosecutor's Office points out that as of October 2017, the policeman "did not perform a single act of active service in his own activity as an official of the regional police, having instead been detected by the investigating police force, the study of news appeared in the media as well as the public content of social networks, numerous trips abroad in order to provide custody and security work for the, already then, rebel defendant Puigdemont".

In this sense, Internal Affairs expedientó the sergeant and removed him from the escort unit, in addition to assigning him to the Martorell police station. Despite this, until March 12, 2018, still under article 155 in Catalonia, the policeman was only active in the service one day, chaining releases for vacations and permits. Until July 20 of that year he was on medical leave and it was then, when Buch was already minister, that Interior created the position of security adviser that, according to the Prosecutor's Office, was "specifically programmed" so that the policeman was Puigdemont's "permanent" escort with public positions.

Together with the former president, who was already accused of organizing 1-O, the policeman traveled to Belgium and Copenhagen while on leave or off. The prosecutor points out that the creation of this position of position of trust "came to suppose, for the purposes of including its high remuneration within the budget", to cancel a place in the Investigation Unit and another in the Citizen Security Unit of Ciutat Vella. After being appointed adviser, the sergeant returned to work and traveled to Paris to guard Puigdemont.

In the following months he accompanied the former Catalan president on 18 trips to Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Faroe Islands or Ireland and his mission was allegedly to take care of security in these displacements. The prosecution details that the defendant charged 52,712 between July 2018 and March 2019, when he requested the cessation, for his functions as a bodyguard and that in that time he spent half of the days outside Catalonia, sleeping in the house of Waterloo, and not in the office he had assigned as an advisor.

The trial will begin on Wednesday and will last for several days, until mid-July, since there are numerous witnesses, such as Puigdemont himself who will intervene on Friday by videoconference. Both Buch's defense and that of the policeman consider that the hiring was correct so there is no crime. Before hundreds of people, including family, friends, officials and supporters of Junts, Buch again defended her innocence while reminding her that "you will never walk alone." At least, until the Audiencia of Barcelona in a few days.

  • Belgium
  • Mossos d'Esquadra
  • Barcelona
  • Carles Puigdemont
  • Paris
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Holland
  • Ireland
  • Together for Catalonia
  • Josep Rull
  • Jordi Turull
  • Artur Mas
  • Jordi Pujol
  • Xavier Trias
  • Europe
  • Supreme Court
  • Girona
  • France

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