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Case of Trias’ alleged Swiss bank accounts, dismissed

Jorge Fernández Díaz still refuses to consider the case closed

"Today I learned that the Prosecutor has filed the case away, I assume provisionally". This is how Jorge Fernández Díaz, the controversial Interior Minister, reacted upon hearing --apparently on reading the stpry published yesterday in El Periódico-- that at the end of November the Anti-corruption Prosecutor ended the investigation into the alleged Swiss bank accounts held by Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona, as it had found no indications to support further investigation. The Minister in this way resisted acknowledging that the case is closed definitively. The investigation was initiated after the El Mundo newspaper published a leaked report from the Central Unit for Economic and Tax Crime (UDEF) of the Spanish National Police. This leak from the Interior Ministry (which oversees the National Police) was rejected by the ABC newspaper for lacking the credibility needed for publication.

The story made the front page of El Mundo in the midst of the campaign for the participatory process of 9N. It claimed that Trias was hiding an account with 13 million euros that he had supposedly moved from the Swiss bank UBS to Andorra due to the growing pressure from the Treasury Department concerning the alleged shady commissions for awarding public works that had been charged by the family of Jordi Pujol and his administrations. Despite the vehement denials by Trias, the Madrid-based newspaper counterattacked by publishing the supposed account number. A few days later, however, UBS issued a statement to the mayor confirming that he had never held any account with them. Trias then demanded the resignation of the Interior Minister, whom he accused of having pressured the media into publish the information, which only El Mundo ended up buying into.

Weeks later, the Minister appeared before the Spanish Congress to state that the UDEF had sent the final report to the State Prosecutor, and that judges were investigating the case. But the truth is that the prosecutors rejected the investigation as soon as they analyzed the report, as they felt that it did not present enough evidence to open an investigation. This decision, according to El Periódico, was approved by Eduardo Torres-Dulce, then State Attorney General.

Trias, satisfied

Upon hearing that the case had been dismissed, the mayor of Barcelona expressed his satisfaction and said that he was convinced that the claim that he had any hidden accounts in Andorra would also be proven false. Trias did not want to re-state his demand for the resignation of Minister Fernández Díaz, although he did insist that he wanted to know "who wrote these reports, how they were done, how they were leaked, and how come I was the last person to know about them". According to the mayor, the police report that he was shown was full of errors, even as to the account that he had in Santander Bank. "We need to think about how things are done in this country", said Trias, who did not lose sight of the fact that the leaks of police reports related to alleged corruption of Catalan pro-sovereignty politicians have increased as the political process for the right to self-determination progressed.

This is not a coincidence, as the Interior Minister in 2012 created a secret police unit, as reported exclusively by ARA, dedicated to looking for indications of corruption involving Catalan pro-independence politicians and people close to them, with the goal of derailing the independence process.

Minister scorns Catalan Parliament summons

The Interior Minister yesterday called it a "lack of respect" that the Parliament had summoned him to declare before the parliamentary committee of inquiry into tax fraud and the Pujol case, but would not summon Artur Mas, president of the Generalitat. In an appearance on Ràdio 4, he warned: "If you do not respect others, you can’t expect any respect yourself, and to summon Ministers and not Artur Mas, nor any other Catalan minister, does not show respect to Parliament nor is it serious". Fernández Díaz, however, chose not to mention the link between the UDEF report on alleged foreign accounts held by Mas leaked in the middle of the 2012 campaign with the La Camarga case of political espionage. While he did not say whether he would appear or not, he did remind people that the Council of State has already ruled that Parliament does not have the authority to summon Spanish Ministers.

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