The judge refuses to investigate Operation Catalunya, alleging that Villarejo "captured information" about corruption


Operation Catalunya wanders through the endless summary of the Villarejo case without finding a piece to be investigated. The last decision of Judge Manuel García Castellón in this regard has been to reject the appearance of Jordi Pujol Ferrusola as a private accusation with the argument that the evidence that appears in the summary on the participation of the commissioner in Operation Catalunya responds to the tasks of “recruitment of information “that Villarejo had assigned by his superiors on alleged corruption in the autonomous community.

This police work, the judge reasons, is different from those dossiers for third parties that the commissioner prepared, using his status as an official, in exchange for large sums of money, and that constitutes the reason that led him to investigate the different pieces of the Tandem cause. The macro-cause of the National High Court, however, contains other actions by the commissioner for which he did not charge and that are framed, as happened with Operation Catalunya, in the alleged use of the Police to attack political adversaries, in the case of the dissemination of information on the mobile of a collaborator of Pablo Iglesias (Dina), or to favor the party in the Government through espionage to the ex-treasurer of the PP Luis Bárcenas (Kitchen).

Operation Catalunya is presented as an uncomfortable element for the National Court and the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, as Villarejo participated in the start of the case against the Pujols and the possibilities of contamination of the actions against the family of the former Catalan president that this implies. The Pujol case is the most emblematic investigation against the corruption of Catalan nationalism and the only one originating in the times of the political brigade that has acquired solidity in a court.

Aware of this, the defenses of the former president of the Generalitat and his seven children have asked the National Court to declassify all the documents related to the parapolice maneuvers of the Ministry of the Interior under the Government of Mariano Rajoy against their political opponents and that their police officers testify at the hearing as witnesses.

The argument of the police tasks against corruption has also appeared as an excuse for the defense of Villarejo and the rest of the policemen involved in Kitchen, who defend that they were not trying to boycott the investigations of Gürtel and Caja B against the PP but to find the front men and the money that Luis Bárcenas was hiding. In Kitchen’s case, the judge has prosecuted the police after dismissing this exculpatory claim.

Jordi Pujol Ferrusola’s lawyer requested the appearance in the Villarejo case on February 20, 2020 and, in the absence of a response, insisted seven months later. It was then, in September of last year, when the judge reacted and ordered the Internal Affairs Unit to prepare a report on the evidence that could be in the case about a series of alleged crimes committed by the commissioner against the eldest son of the former president. Jordi Pujol Ferrusola is prosecuted along with other family members in a serious case of corruption of the National Court, to whose opening Villarejo actively contributed when he was active.

Always supported by the arguments of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, from which he even copies verbatim phrases, the judge concludes in his order of October 28: “From the examination of the documents provided [por Asuntos Internos], the interested Jordi Pujol Ferrusola does not appear as investigated [por Villarejo] on behalf of private clients and in exchange for a price in the execution of any of the investigation / intelligence projects, in which information obtained in the police field is used (found in records with restricted access), or [donde] investigative techniques that restrict the rights of third parties are used “.

On the contrary, Anticorrupción, in their brief, and the judge, in the order, defend that the informative notes seized from the commissioner and drawn up by him include his activity of “gathering information of police interest (mainly handling of human sources) in relation to possible cases of corruption linked to the Pujol family, as well as obtaining information on accounts where in recent years commissions have been paid to the Pujol family. ” It so happens that these notes, always in the supposed field of “police intelligence”, are not incorporated into the cause of corruption of the members of the former identity’s family and they did serve to prepare the pseudo-reports that appeared in the media coinciding with high points of the sovereign process.

The Prosecutor’s Office and the judge appreciate that four of these informative notes, analyzed together with other documents in the case, “can be considered as evidence of the commission of criminal acts to the direct detriment of the Pujol family and, specifically, of the now interested Jordi Pujol Ferrusola “. But García Castellón adds that they will not be the object of his investigation either because “this criminal activity would have taken place in Andorra” and that jurisdiction is already in charge of investigating them.

An Andorran court has kept an investigation open for seven years into the complaint made by the Pujols of the leak of their bank accounts in an entity in the country to the newspaper ‘El Mundo’. In another court, the front page of the political brigade has been implicated since August 2016 for allegedly obtaining these accounts through blackmail and extortion. Villarejo, however, is not charged in either of these two cases. Furthermore, the commissioner has delivered briefing notes to the Andorran justice system and has testified against other members of the political brigade whom he is currently facing. This is the case of the former head of Internal Affairs and also accused in Kitchen, Marcelino Martín-Blas, whom the owners of BPA accuse of having coerced and threatened them into giving them the Pujol’s banking information.

In the car in which he rejects the appearance of Pujol Ferrusola, Judge García Castellón also refers to the audios in which Villarejo talks with third parties about the maneuvers that have come to be called ‘Operation Catalunya’. In them, says the judge, “different human sources managed by the then commissioner Villarejo tell the police, as well as third parties, numerous incidental criminal episodes, such as the collection of commissions and money laundering operations.” In these recordings appear Victoria Álvarez, former lover of Pujol Ferrusola, or businessman Javier de la Rosa. Both went to testify to the UDEF after contacting them with the commissioner Villarejo under a false identity. The businessman ended up giving up, but the sole statement of Victoria Álvarez before the UDEF led to the opening of the Pujol case in the National Court.

In the audios you can also hear the participation of Rafael Redondo, lawyer and partner of the commissioner who picked up Victoria Álvarez at the Atocha station, led her to the Canillas police complex and, without being a member of the National Police Force or practicing as a lawyer of the complainant, stayed to witness the statement about the alleged crimes of Jordi Pujol’s eldest son that the woman made before the UDEF investigators, the germ of the Pujol case. Rafael Redondo is one of the key players in the Tandem case and he went to a court in Madrid as a legal representative of the confidant Javier de la Rosa.

The lawyer Alberto Carrillo said in the letter requesting the appearance of Pujol Ferrusola: “There are well-founded indications that some of those investigated, and particularly José Manuel Villarejo Pérez, acting outside of any legality and using their status as a public official, falsified documents of a commercial nature, they obtained information of an intimate nature regarding Jordi Pujol Ferrusola and offered advantages and economic and police coverage to different witnesses to present molded statements of an allegedly incriminating sign. “

In the car that gave rise to the Kitchen case, the judge detected a possible crime that went beyond the enrichment of Villarejo. It was about the raid on the study of Bárcenas’s wife by police officers. It so happens that something very similar would also occur in the case of Pujol Ferrusola, according to his lawyer. It would be “three raids” at the home of the ex-wife of the eldest son of the former president on February 27, 2013.

“After asking the Mossos d’Esquadra agents who had come to the home to take fingerprints, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola was informed that the shots had been sent to the Civil Guard and National Police bodies for that they were crossed with their databases and that the answer they received was that it was about special traces, “the lawyer said in his letter.

And there is a third fact that convinces the representation of the Pujol son of the participation of the political brigade in the cause. It is about the appearance before the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Higini Cierco, owner of the bank from which the information on the Pujol account came from. Cierco came to provide documentation from Andbank, a rival bank, which would offer new information about the Pujols. The document, adds the defense, was revealed to be false, according to Andbank itself by rogatory commission, but it had already served to activate new investigations by the Prosecutor’s Office. Cierco was accompanied to the Anticorruption headquarters by the lawyer Javier Iglesias, alias ‘El Largo’, to which Villarejo and other members of his group repeatedly allude during the recordings incorporated into the cause as their link with the then Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy.

The sanitary cordon around Operation Catalunya imposed by the judge in the Villarejo case began to be seen in April 2020. Then, García Castellón issued an order in which he raised the secret about the documentation seized from the commissioner when he was arrested and of the that it excluded a folder with the “supposed functions assigned to José Manuel Villarejo in the years 2013 and 2014”. The judge argued that it is information that can “be legally classified.” It is the time of Operation Catalunya and Villarejo’s participation in the police maneuvers against sovereignty as a “liberated” agent of the Deputy Operational Directorate, the nest of the political brigade.

The alphanumeric references with which the car alluded to the documents that became official secret made it impossible to intuit their content, but elDiario.es found in another resolution, from the end of 2018, a brief allusion that accompanies those series of numbers, points and lyrics: these were works by the police officer on Artur Mas and “various people”, the “financing” of the Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) and the former honorary consul of Latvia in Barcelona Xavier Vinyals.

On the other hand, elDiario.es reported a year ago of the participation of the alleged criminal organization of Villarejo in the investigations of Pujol Ferrusola twenty months after the case was prosecuted and, therefore, long after the UDEF agents officially took over the case under the direct orders of the magistrate Pablo Ruz. In a recording of Villarejo incorporated into the summary, he tells a collaborator: “We give them the data, they (the UDEF agents) score the goal and we get paid.”

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