Operation Volhov: Judge releases nine detainees, who refused to testify

Vendrell, Soler, Madí, Vinyals, Fusté, Aguilera, Molina, Serra and Mir have exercised their right to remain silent

The judge has released all nine detainees in Operation Volhov, who spent two nights in police custody and have refused to testify, according to their defence. They are the businessmen Xavier Vendrell, Oriol Soler and David Madí; the president of a platform in favour of Catalan national sports teams, Xavier Vinyals; the company directors of Events, Toni Fusté and Roc Aguilera; the councillor of Cabrera de Mar Enric Mir; the former councillor of ERC Marta Molina, and Jordi Serra, delegate auditor of the department of the Presidency under Carles Puigdemont. None of them has declared. They will be provisionally released with charges, since the Public Prosecutor's Office has not requested precautionary measures against them.

The accused were arrested on Wednesday, along with other businessmen and senior officials of the Generalitat. The case, led by magistrate Joaquín Aguirre, is based on a series of telephone conversations to investigate them for corruption and influence peddling, and links them to the financing of the 2017 independence bid and the 2019 mass protests.The Catalan High Court stated that the case included charges of bribery, misappropriation of public funds, prevarication and public disorder, among others. Another case is running parallel investigating irregular subsidies from the Barcelona Provincial Council to entities close to CDC.

Among other things, the judge places Vendrell, Madí and Soler at the head of the Tsunami Democràtic, which wou also be linked to the company Events, based in Igualada, which was already registered in 2017 by the Guardia Civil in search of material for the referendum.

Police operation against 2017 referendum funders

Some twenty family members and friends - including former member of Congress Joan Tardà and Vendrell's parents - gathered this morning at the entrance to the courts to support the detainees, who arrived at around 9.15 am in two vans and a car belonging to the Guardia Civil.

At the doors of the courts, the vice-president of Òmnium, Marcel Mauri, denounced that "the only crime that the detainees have committed is to be pro-independence", and recalled the almost 3,000 people who have been repressed by the judicialisation of the independence bid. "It is a set-up without any kind of proof, and, regardless, they have been detained for 48 hours," he criticised, before showing his support for all those arrested, especially Soler. "The state constructs false stories, invents evidence without any basis, and beyond defending the detainees' presumption of innocence, everything points to the state's presumption of guilt," he added before recalling that the members of Committees for the Defence of the Republic accused of terrorism were released.

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