The judge of the court of first instance of A Coruña has forbidden the Franco family to take any objects from the Pazo de Meirás country estate and has ordered an inventory to be made, both inside and outside the estate, which will begin on Wednesday.
The heirs of the dictator are expected to return the Pazo de Meirás on 10 December and the court decision specifies that they cannot take anything as the estate must be kept in its entirety.
Recovering the Pazo de Meirás, the Franco family's summer house in Galicia, is a long claim of many Galician entities and associations. The Xunta Pro Devolución do Pazo de Meirás, composed of the A Coruña city council, forty town councils and associations, has never stopped fighting for the Franco family to return a property that it considers to have been plundered. On 2 September, a judge agreed with them in a lawsuit in which the State also took part.
The judge stated that the alleged sale that took place on 24 May 1941, with which the dictator managed to register Pazo de Meirás in his name, was a "simulation" and therefore concluded that the sale was null and void. The judge considers that the estate was incorporated into the Franco family's vast patrimony in "bad faith", a bad faith that is demonstrated at the time when a sale was signed without payment: "The Caudillo accepted the donation of Pazo de Meirás as head of state and then granted a public deed, on 24 May, with the sole purpose of registering this property in his name in the Land Registry, without putting a price on it", explained the judge.
To ensure that the dictator's heirs do not take anything away, the judge has asked the Guardia Civil to deploy a surveillance device. The judge recalled that Pazo de Meirás was declared a Property of Cultural Interest in 2008 and therefore must be protected in its entirety. Furthermore, she considers that the inventory is necessary because the heirs, according to the lawsuit filed by the state, want to proceed quickly to empty the estate.
Franco's heirs gave in on November 4, provisionally, to return the Pazode Meirás to the public patrimony. But nothing is definitive. The dictator's grandchildren will persist in their legal battle and have already filed an appeal against the sentence that forces them to return the estate.