Madrid daily El Mundo reported on Monday that Spain’s Interior Ministry used secret state funds to buy information about the independence referendum —slated for 1 October 2017— from Catalan police officers whom they had recruited as informants. The Spanish newspaper was privy to details provided by the Spanish authorities to the National Court in connection with the so-called Kitchen case, a probe into the activities of former superintendent Villarejo, the disgraced police officer who had attempted to spy on and steal documents from former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas.
These payouts —made with public funds— were entered under the header “Catalan police” and they were signed off on by the DAO, the highest-ranking echelon of the Spanish police force, as well as Mariano Rajoy’s Deputy Minister for State Security.
According to El Mundo, the documents detail systematic payments made to Mossos d’Esquadra officers (Catalan police) in exchange for information about their bosses’ plans head of the independence referendum. Madrid’s National Court was keen to learn first hand whether the top brass in the Mossos was cooperating with the Catalan government to stage the referendum.
El Mundo claims that the intelligence provided by the alleged informers was used to draft internal reports naming the Catalan police officers who would have to be fired as soon as the Spanish government took over the Catalan police force, as they did when Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia [shortly after the referendum].
The payouts are listed in the actual documentation which Spain’s Interior Ministry —now led by Fernando Grande-Marlaska— has sent to Madrid’s National Court about the Kitchen case, a probe into an unsanctioned surveillance operation by members of Spain’s National Police to steal evidence from former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas.
The very same accounting ledger where the Interior Ministry recorded an €800 secret funds outlay to purchase a handgun for Bárcenas’ former chauffeur, who had been recruited by the Spanish police, also includes an entry labelled “Mossos: €6,700”.
According to the information sent by the ministry to Spain’s National Court, payments continued to be made through to September 2015.
€40k worth of surveillance on Catalan police
Parallel to this, Spain’s Interior Ministry has declassified information about €40k worth of expenses on counter-surveillance operations on Catalan police officers who, according to the incumbent Interior Minister, had been spying on his predecessor, Jorge Fernández Díaz, among others.