The Supreme Court has closed, by not appreciating a crime, the case in which the former president of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont was investigated for an alleged diversion of public funds related to the Girona water canon when he was mayor of the city.
In this matter, referred to the high court by a Girona court, Puigdemont was being investigated for a municipal action in 2013 and 2014 when he was first mayor of Girona, consisting of the approval of a transfer of funds from the municipal water fee to payment from an art collection for the City Council.
The Supreme Court concludes that the operation was an administrative offense, to be assessed by the contentious-administrative jurisdiction, but not a possible criminal offense, in line with what was proposed by the Prosecutor’s Office, who had also asked for the case to be closed.
Puigdemont, in his time as mayor of Girona, signed the agreements for the sale of the art collection of the Santos Torroella Fund for the City Council, the first payment of which (1 million euros) was made through a transfer of funds obtained from the concession contracts. of the management of the water canon, which were allocated to the expenses of the water cycle.
The Supreme Court, according to the report of the Prosecutor’s Office, has closed the case as the facts are not constitutive of a crime, even though a transfer of funds was carried out not allowed by law, which constituted an administrative offense to be assessed by the administrative jurisdiction. The High Court recalls in this regard its jurisprudence that differentiates between an administrative illegality and the commission of a crime of prevarication, which in this case is ruled out.
The Supreme Court argues that the operation to purchase the art fund through is an “administrative illegality” because the money could only be used for matters related to the Girona water circuit. However, it is not a criminal illegality because the decision to purchase the paintings was not issued by an incompetent body, nor was the essential rules of procedure waived, nor was it the consequence of the commission of a criminal offense.
In short, for the Supreme Court Puigdemont had the purpose of “illegally stretching local autonomy overcoming the narrowness of the limitations that the ecological canon and its condition of entry under public law imposed from the European Directives and national and regional legislation, to the perspectives of municipality management “, but not prevaricate.
The order also rules out the crime of fraud against the administration by not appreciating “the existence of a device to defraud the Girona City Council.” The Supreme Court recalls that it has not been questioned that the value of the Santos Torroella collection was higher than the price paid by the City Council, nor that it was a set of works of interest to the municipality, as well as that the change in budget items was approved by the plenary session of the City Council with knowledge of its origin and destination.
Finally, the magistrates also do not share that there has been a crime of falsification by Puigdemont due to the fact of having signed a decree of the mayor’s office dated May 22, 2013 approving the contracting of the evaluation study of the Santos Torroella collection, when the report of appraisal had been signed on April 17, 2013. Said crime requires that an authority or official misrepresents the truth in the narration of the facts in a document, something that, the Supreme Court remarks, does not occur in this case because the purchase of the works of art “responded to a real operation.”
The Supreme Court, according to the report of the Prosecutor’s Office, has issued an order to file as the facts do not constitute a crime, even if a transfer of funds was carried out not allowed by law, which constituted an administrative offense to be assessed by the jurisdiction administrative. The high court recalls in this regard its jurisprudence that differentiates between an administrative illegality and the commission of a crime of prevarication, which in this case is ruled out.