Cristina Rubio Barcelona


Updated Wednesday, February 28, 2024-20:29

Justice reactivates the case due to the aid and subsidies of the previous mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, to related entities throughout her two terms in the City Council of the Catalan capital.

Specifically, the Barcelona Court has ordered an investigation into an auditor of the Consistory when Ada Colau's government subsidized related entities, believing that she should have raised objections if she found that there were no reasons to award this aid directly or repeatedly.

This is stated by the fifth section of the Barcelona Court in a ruling, to which this newspaper has had access, in which it also agrees that the Barcelona city council and the four entities related to Colau that received the subsidies, including the DESC Observatory, be required to or the Platform for People Affected by Mortgage (PAH), to "justify the destination" of the aid received.

In its order, the Court partially upholds the appeals that the Association for Transparency and Democratic Quality and the Association of Constitutional Jurists filed against the decision of the investigating court number 21 of Barcelona that refused to investigate this intervener and denied the proceedings that had been carried out. required.

Although both the Prosecutor's Office and the defense of the former mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau - who was investigated in this case, although the judge exonerated her in July 2022 - opposed both appeals, the Court has partially upheld them and has ordered impute the then deputy auditor, Carmen TM, and require that more information be required about the subsidies.

The Court recalls that the case remains open because there are indications of the possible commission of the crimes of prevarication and embezzlement of public funds, so it understands that all necessary steps must be taken to clarify the facts.

In this sense, it considers that the proceedings proposed by the Association of Constitutional Jurists may be "useful" to clarify and "reinforce, or not", the evidence of crime, which is why it requires the council and the four entities subject to this process to justify the destination of the subsidies granted.

"Given that several of the people who participated in the granting of the subsidies had links with the entities that received the money, knowing how the money was used can provide relevant information to assess whether, when granting them, those who granted them were aware of being giving a diverted use of public funds", points out the Court.

As a "mere hypothesis", the Court states that "since the entities that received the subsidies allocated them in a high proportion to personnel expenses, it could turn out that those who granted the subsidies knew that they were facilitating the payment of remuneration to their colleagues or former colleagues. , instead of allocating the money to appropriate purposes for a city council.

In this sense, he sees it as "reasonable" that the justification of the subsidies is required, "as an element that can shed light on the alleged crimes being investigated here."

At the same time, it also orders the charging of Carmen TM, who was the deputy auditor of Barcelona City Council when the first agreement was signed in 2014, and then delegated auditor when the other subsidies were granted.

The Court points out that the General Subsidies Law provides that on an "exceptional basis" this aid may be granted directly if there are reasons of "public, social, economic or humanitarian interest", but that this cannot be interpreted in the sense that all are granted directly, "since it is difficult for a subsidy not to have a public, social, economic or humanitarian interest."

For this reason, it maintains that if it were found that there were no reasons to award these subsidies directly, without public competition, or that their repetition conflicted with current regulations, the auditor "should have raised objections", since they constitute an "important warning "and may lead to the suspension of the processing of the file.

Furthermore, he points out that Carmen TM, who currently serves as director of Economic Coordination, attached to the General Intervention of the Barcelona City Council, has spoken in doctrinal articles "in terms that do not seem to fit with the actions that she herself had in the events that are the object of this process."

In this way, it concludes that there are "sufficient indications" to investigate the intervener.

In March of last year, the general auditor of the city council endorsed the legality of these subsidies before the judge and assured that the direct granting of aid was duly justified.

The general auditor, who analyzed the municipal subsidy files in the years investigated, also supported the actions of the delegate auditor of the council's social services area.

When she testified before the judge, the official now accused admitted that in her 2019 subsidy audit report she made several observations in which she recommended that the aid be included in the budgets, but, according to the auditor, she could not object because the aid complied with the legal requirements.

The investigating judge concluded in July 2022 that no crime could be attributed to Colau for these subsidies since he had delegated his functions in granting aid - which had been granted since the time of Xavier Trias -, he did not give instructions in this regard and In addition, the municipal plenary session approved them in the end.

However, the Court forced the judge to reopen the case for a crime in the "recurrent and repeated" granting of multi-year subsidies due to the exceptional procedure of direct granting, "without competitive competition", between 2016 and 2020.