Spain’s Court of Auditors estimates, provisionally, that it could seek to claim €4.55 million for alleged irregular spending at DIPLOCAT between 2013 and 2017. DIPLOCAT is an autonomous public-private consortium working on Catalonia’s international projection and is made up by 39 institutions and entities, including the Catalan government, universities, trade unions and even FC Barcelona. The Court of Auditors does not approve the kind of activities DIPLOCAT organized and considers the public money spent on them was misused.
The case goes beyond DIPLOCAT and affects all of Catalonia’s foreign action in recent years. Prominent independence leaders such as exiled president Carles Puigdemont and former president Artur Mas, former DIPLOCAT head Albert Royo, along with dozens of others are involved in this case. The writ instructs that Royo, Puigdemont, Mas, ex-ministers and other former senior officials must appear in court on June 29 and 30, although their lawyers may also appear on their behalf. Jailed former vice president Oriol Junqueras and also imprisoned former foreign minister, Raül Romeva, are also included in the case.
Among the main items the court is studying are the €1.48 million hiring of the services of the NGO Independent Diplomat, subsidies and aid to the Federation of Internationally Recognized Catalan Organizations (FOCIR), visits of international leaders, actions on academic awareness and analysis and foresight. Other smaller amounts are included for the hiring of an international press chief, parliamentary, academic, cultural and sports awareness actions, the involvement of society in debates and election observation, as well as visits of journalists and international opinion leaders.
Separately, a Barcelona local court has opened proceedings against former minister Raül Romeva and nine other former officials of the Catalan government over foreign policy spending. The case is open for possible crimes committed with public money for promoting Catalonia’s independence push abroad.