The Catalan government blocked the items of the budget earmarked for electoral processes, as required by the Constitutional Court's ruling against additional budgetary provisions for the October 1st referendum (1-O). This was specifically certified by Rosa Vidal, the Generalitat’s official auditor, in a report to which ARA has had access and which accompanied the allegations presented by the defense for the ministers imprisoned by the National Court.
Madrid judge Carmen Lamela set bail at 6.2 million euros, which corresponds to the line items for electoral processes and popular consultations included in the Catalan government budget. The judge believes that this could be the figure that the government had earmarked for the 1-O referendum. Despite the defense arguments, Lamela decided on Thursday to keep all the Ministers in custody.
In the report, dated October 31st, the auditor certifies that once the Constitutional Court had ruled on July 5th that financing for 1-O was unconstitutional, the Generalitat took all the measures necessary to block the items of the budget that the Court believed could be used for the referendum. In fact, she notes that the only expenditure in recent months related with the organization of electoral processes was for "regular and evolving maintenance of IT systems", which served for ordinary parliamentary elections, according to government sources. It had nothing to do with the referendum, added the same sources.
The ministers' legal counsel believes that the bail imposed by Judge Lamela --which has kept them in remand-- is "arbitrary", as shown by the report signed by the Generalitat's auditor, as were decisions by the Spanish cabinet. On November 3rd, the Spanish government approved a budgetary change to pay for the December 21st elections —€25 million divided between the budgets for 2017 (€17.3 million) and 2018 (€7.7 million). As the Spanish government believes that the budget section for electoral expenditures is intact, instead of expanding the budget by 17.3 million this year it should have done so by only 12 million euros, this paid for out of contingency funds. In addition, since September 20th the Treasury Department has had absolute control of the Generalitat's finances.