Judge Joaquín Aguirre officially knew since last March that the National Court had rejected the investigation into the Russian plot of the process due to lack of credibility. Despite the finality of the special court, the Barcelona magistrate continued with the investigations until last Friday’s order in which he agreed to a dozen charges, including those of the former president of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont.

After years of stagnation, the judge, coinciding with the negotiation of the amnesty law, last January decided to relaunch the case regarding the alleged Russian plot and already targeted Puigdemont, although he did not formally charge him then, since to do so he had to ask permission first from the European Parliament. Last Friday, with the former president already without immunity after his decision to be a deputy in the Parliament and not in the European Chamber, the judge did advance that he would raise the case before the Supreme Court, the court before which the leader of Junts is seated.

The material on which the magistrate opened the new piece is a compilation of different documents and audios collected over almost five years of investigation. That is to say, there is no new evidence and everything that exists was already considered insufficient by the judges in charge of reviewing Aguirre’s decisions, which prevented him from continuing to investigate. The judge ignored the order of the Barcelona Court.

The main novelty – which the judge did not mention in his order on Friday – arrived at the Investigative Court 1 of Barcelona on March 26 of this year, but it went against Judge Aguirre’s thesis. The instructor had asked the National Court a month earlier if he had “police reports” on the Russian plot of the process. The special court’s response was to remember that the Russian plot had been shelved due to lack of credibility.

Before taking the step this Friday, Judge Aguirre had made another relevant decision in an investigation: changing the Judicial Police, the body that assists the judge in the investigations and that has a relevant role in the investigation. The judge decided to move from the Civil Guard to the National Police after the investigation stalled due to the lack of new data that would support the thesis of Russian influence in the process.

It so happens that the judge had already changed the Judicial Police before, an unusual extreme, according to the legal sources consulted. At the end of 2018, the UDEF of the National Police found in a record of a case of diversion of funds that Judge Aguirre was investigating the audio of the former leader of Convergència Víctor Terradellas who spoke about the 10,000 Russian soldiers. At the beginning of 2019, the judge relieved the UDEF of the investigations and replaced it with the Civil Guard, which seven months later, based on the same audio, asked the judge for dozens of records and telephone interventions to leaders of the process in which he was known as operation Voloh.

The case has ended up becoming a “repository of police reports”, in the words of the magistrates of the Barcelona Court who review Aguirre’s investigation. The Civil Guard found no more evidence of the alleged Russian interference, after which at the beginning of this year the judge changed the Judicial Police again to deliver documents and audios obtained during five years of investigations to the General Police Information Commissariat National.

The response of the National Court

The same Police Station already tried without success, in 2019, to investigate the Russian plot in the National Court, as published by elDiario.es. Through a protected witness and information that appeared in the press about the presence of Russian citizens in Barcelona in 2017, the General Information Commissioner requested that the National Court take on a macro-case regarding the Russian plot of the process.

The police intentions were forcefully stopped by prosecutor Miguel Ángel Carballo, who accuses thirteen members of the CDR of terrorism, and Judge Alejandro Abascal, affiliated with the conservative and majority Professional Association of the Magistracy (APM) and who after serving as support magistrate of the Manuel García Castellón court this Tuesday was elected as a future member of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ).

Judge Aguirre has now rescued the same police unit that failed to get the National Court to investigate the Russian plot despite knowing first-hand the arguments of the special court against the case.

Furthermore, in his ruling last Friday, Judge Aguirre assured that “the media” reported that the National Court and the General Information Commissioner’s Office could be secretly investigating the presence of members of a Russian military intelligence group, but The magistrate made no mention of the resolution – which he had – regarding the closure of these investigations.

Judge Abascal, following a report from prosecutor Carballo, decreed in July 2020 that the Russian plot be archived. The judge highlighted that the Information Commissioner’s Office had asked to open the case based on a protected witness who “provided” names of leaders of the process and supposedly related Russian citizens, but without supporting it with “some type of documentary support”, despite the fact that this he was required “on multiple occasions during the statement.”

Later, the witness provided “a list” of “real people belonging to the economic and political networks of Catalonia, as well as other nationals of the Russian Federation.” But everything he said had already appeared in the media, which according to Judge Abascal led to the conclusion that his statements “are devoid of any factual substrate when trying to see his connection with the crime investigated.”

“Attending pro-independence appointments or meetings is of no use for the investigation, because ideology cannot be the object of investigation in a democratic society,” recalled the order of the National Court delivered to Judge Aguirre. Regarding the witness’ identification of Russian citizens as spies, the magistrate and the prosecutor of the special court concluded that it was an extreme that “only appeared in journalistic media.”

“Nothing is provided that allows an investigation to be kept open, unless we pursue a general cause in search of some evidence that allows us to confirm the initial thesis, forgetting that this type of investigation is prohibited,” added Judge Abascal and Prosecutor Carballo.

The first investigations by the Information Commission for Judge Aguirre have already begun, since the judge decreed on March 12 the secrecy of one of the parts of the case and entrusted the agents with some proceedings that, since the case was secret, only the judge and the prosecutor knew about.

But that secret no longer makes sense after the order of the Barcelona Court that prevented him from continuing to investigate the Russian plot. This is what the prosecutor of the case argues in a letter dated June 7, in which he tells the instructor that “it is not appropriate to maintain” the secrecy of the case and requests its immediate lifting. The judge responded twelve days later that the secrecy had already been lifted.

The magistrate himself acknowledged that insisting on investigating the Russian plot is an “alternative solution” proposed by himself before the order of the Barcelona Court that ordered him to finish the investigation of the case.

The judge not only did not file the case, as he admitted was “intended” by the order of the Barcelona Court, but opted to open a new separate piece based on the only piece that remained open – the rest had been overturned by the higher court – of a 2016 case on an alleged diversion of funds from the Barcelona Provincial Council to entities related to Convergència.

Source: www.eldiario.es

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