The Civil Guard has launched early in the morning on Wednesday an operation related to the alleged diversion of public funds towards independence. The operation includes eight arrests and has been ordered by the Court of Instruction 1 of Barcelona, which is investigating the financing of Carles Puigdemont’s stay in Belgium and his alleged relationship with the Tsunami Democràtic.
In the operation, the editor Oriol Soler, the former minister of the Generalitat by ERC Xavier Vendrell and the exporter of Convergència David Madí have been arrested. The three were part of the Sanhedrin that, together with the leaders of the independence parties and the Government, planned the referendum and the sovereignist strategy until 1-O. As the former president of the Generalitat Quim Torra has tweeted, the head of the office of the former president of Puigdemont, Josep Lluís Alay, has also been arrested.
The investigations led by Judge Joaquín Aguirre began with a case of corruption of Convergència in the Barcelona Provincial Council but acquired an international dimension as a result of the searches and the arrest of the former head of international relations for the party Víctor Terradellas. The judge then went on to investigate whether the diversion of grants from the Diputación de Barcelona paid for the expenses of Puigdemont in Waterloo. This Wednesday’s arrests are part of a secret piece of the same case.
Madí, grandson of one of the families of the traditional Catalan bourgeoisie, was the main strategist of Convergència and right hand of Artur Mas during his time in the opposition during the left tripartite. Once the convergents returned to the Generalitat in 2010, Madí went to the private sector to advise several companies, including some of the Ibex-35.
Vendrell, a veteran member of ERC, was secretary of organization of the Republicans between 1996 and 2006. Deputy in Parliament between 1999 and 2006, in that year he was appointed Minister of the Interior of the left tripartite, but was dismissed for only one month in the charge for the expulsion of ERC from the Government due to the crisis of the Statute. Although he is outside the political front line, like Madí with Convergència, Vendrell has continued to influence his party’s strategy from the private sector.
Soler founded the Cultura 03 group and currently directs the SOM publishing group. Promoter of the Ara Llibres publishing house, Sàpiens magazine and the Barcelona edition of Time Out, he was also one of the heads of the campaign of the Convergència and ERC coalition, Junts perl Sí, in the Catalan elections of 2015.