The Hearing in Barcelona has sentenced the former Catalan interior minister to four and a half years in prison Michael Buch for hiring a Mosso as an advisor to act as an escort for Carles Puigdemont in Belgium. In addition, the court imposed a nine-and-a-half-year ban on holding public office and a further ten years of absolute abstinence. The Second Chamber is therefore of the opinion that this happened Embezzlement and subterfuge.
In addition, the verdict sentences to four years in prison and the same disqualification the sergeant whom Buch hired for his department, Lluís Escolà, and who later carried out protective duties for the former Catalan president whom he had abandoned. Catalonia on October 29, 2017, after the approval of 155, as Puigdemont himself admitted during the trial last June.
The ruling of Thursday September 14th states that the Generalitat’s priority was this Guarantee the safety of whoever has been president of the same. For this reason, the Director General of Police, Pere Ferrer, has sent a letter to the Ministry of the Interior on this matter. The same applies to the Foreign Office, but the government rejected the request because there was a search and arrest warrant on Puigdemont.
Nevertheless, the government had granted the refugee protection since he left “the national territory,” the ruling said, since “the presence of several Mossos officials was established from that moment.” They had already gone to Waterloo (Belgium), where the “President” settled. Regarding the appointment of Escolà as book advisor “on security issues,” the judges point out the “unnecessity of this position,” since it remained vacant for a year after the sergeant was dismissed.
The court assumes that the position was “ideal” for the moss – and could therefore offer protection Puigdemont– Since it was a discretionary appointment, his appointment was not subject to appeal, nor did it require adherence to schedules or physical presence. In addition, they criticize the “simplicity, vagueness and generality” of the documents presented by both defendants during the trial to confirm that Escolà was indeed acting as internal counsel.
After hearing the verdict, the convicts have already announced that they will appeal. During the oral hearing, the head of the anti-corruption unit of the Catalan police, Toni Rodríguez, certified that the Mossos had brought charges against the sergeant after he helped Puigdemont leave the country, “behind the structure of the corps”, because he was a communicant. with the postulates of independence.
This is how the investigation began, during which Escolà was temporarily assigned to the Martorell police station (Barcelona), where he never worked. He used “guards, permits and leave” to travel to Belgium and carry out “protection” tasks for the fugitive. “We see it in photos, in his demonstrations on Twitter,” the commander explained. Some publications that the agents checked with the mandatory notices to the airlines checking the sergeant’s movements. “Do you know that other officers have performed the same task?” asked prosecutor Pedro Ariche during the first hearing. “At least five, but it was known that there were many more,” Rodríguez then noted.
Since October 29, 2017, Escolà does not return to work until July of the following year. This is done by chaining permissions. “The protection dynamic in Belgium is stopping,” said the mayor after the former president’s arrest in Germany. At that time, Albert Ballesta, who was the interior delegate in Gerona – and who replaced Puigdemont as head of the city’s mayor’s office when he became “president” – called the head of the Mossos – then Ferran López – to request a leave of absence for Escolà. Something the commander refused “because he knows the reason it was requested.”
Rodríguez also pointed out that then-counselor Elsa Artadi pushed for it guarantee the safety of Puigdemont. At that time, according to the mayor, Buch signed the resolution to appoint Escolà as an advisor. The sergeant, who was on leave and already carrying out protection duties in Belgium, was discharged for medical reasons.
The brief for the adviser’s position was to “improve the security services” and bring them into line with those of other countries, but, the mayor said, he was not aware of Escolà having carried out any work of this type and had no qualifications or have experience in this field. Ultimately, the court considered the allegations against both of them to be proven.