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Spanish parliament concludes Operation Catalonia existed, but won’t seek legal action

Rajoy’s Partido Popular finds no support to help draft the conclusions of the probe into Spain’s “patriotic police”

While Jorge Fernández Díaz was Spain’s Home Secretary, an unofficial “patriotic police” unit was set up in order to interfere with ongoing investigations into corruption cases that mired the PP, as well as to combat the conservative party’s political opponents, such as Podemos, the PSOE and Catalonia’s separatist leaders. This is the main conclusion which Madrid’s parliament has drawn after a four-month long probe into Operation Catalonia.

All opposition parties in parliament stood together against the PP to certify that the state’s institutions were used for partisan ends by the Home Secretary. Still, the damning conclusions will not be forwarded to the Attorney General, against the wishes of Podemos, ERC and the PDECat. Ciudadanos took a lukewarm stand on the issue and abstained. They reject any mention of a “political police” and instead blame it all on the incompetence of the Home Office leadership, which caused a great deal of “confusion” as well as “infighting and jealousy” within the force.

The PP walked out of the meeting protesting that it was all “a fabulation” by the opposition. They believe that their view is supported by the fact that the Attorney General will not be taking any action due to “a lack of any legal standing” now that “even the Supreme Court” has dropped all charges against Fernández Díaz.

No mention of the De Alfonso tape

Our sources report that the final text drafted by the opposition is based on the PSOE’s own conclusions. To begin with, the paper emphasises that the role of the Spanish police force as an institution is not being put into question. The second item —the lengthiest of all— states that the Home Office’s law enforcement structure was used in an “unlawful” manner, following “instructions” from Ignacio Cosidó, the former head of Spain’s National Police, and his deputy, Eugenio Pino, “with the minister’s knowledge and consent”, and with a view to “meddling” in the corruption probes that concerned the PP, as well as “persecuting its political opponents”.

Specifically, the conclusions do not mention the leaked conversation between Fernández Díaz and Daniel de Alfonso, who was head of Catalonia’s Anti-Fraud Office, although the report does admit that there was a strategy against Catalonia’s secession movement. However, this is set on a par with the misuse of police resources against PSOE members and the PISA report, which sought to smear Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias as talks were being held to form a majority government in Spain. To be precise, the report refers to the smear campaign against then Barcelona city mayor Xavier Trias, following Fuentes Gago’s own admission that he had travelled to Switzerland to “ascertain” whether the Catalan mayor actually had any cash stashed away in a Swiss account.

The third point emphasises that this was “an unacceptable, partisan misuse” of Home Affairs resources and personnel, as well as law enforcement agencies, for "a political agenda”, which constitutes “a breach of the basic tenets of a democracy and the rule of law”.

Finally, in the fourth item the report states that Rajoy’s government has refused to provide the information requested by the probing committee.

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