Spain’s paramilitary Guardia Civil has arrested this morning the Catalan entrepreneurs Oriol Soler, Xavier Vendrell and David Madí in a new operation against the pro-independence movement. Police officers have started searching Vendrell’s home in Sant Joan Despí and the home of Oriol Soler in Igualada.

Ousted president Quim Torra wrote on Twitter that the head of president Puigdemont’s office, Josep Lluís Alay, has also been arrested.

According to VilaWeb, the operation is due to investigations led by Barcelona’s Court number 1, ​​which have been going since 2016, over alleged money laundering and misuse of public funds related to the Diputació de Barcelona.

The Guardia Civil is expected to make more arrests and searches today. Among those also investigated are  Xavier Vinyals, Toni Fusté and Roc Aguilera (owners of the company Events), Pilar Contreras (Health offcial at the Catalan Government), Marta Molina (businesswoman and former ERC councilor in Sant Joan Despí), Jordi Serra (Government official) and Jordi Mir (Mayor of Cabrera de Mar).

Alay released

Josep Lluís Alay was released later on in the morning but an investigation for misuse of funds against him will continue. In an interview with RAC1 station, he said that he had been accused of earning money from some work he carried out as a consultant for the 2017 Crans Montana international forum celebrated in Switzerland. Alay added that former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont took part in the forum in its 2018 and 2019 editions.

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