The case could have simply been closed. It is concluded that the facts do not constitute any crime, and to the court case. But a judge wanted to record the attempted use of Justice by the Vauras vulture fund, due to its ideological disagreement with the housing policies promoted by Barcelona City Council under the mandate of Ada Colau.
Of the fifteen complaints filed against Colau or members of his team, it is the first time that a judge reprimands the rivals of the commons for using criminal proceedings. In the words of Judge Carmen García, Vauras filed a complaint against the former mayor, two councilors and an official for “purposes unrelated to those of the criminal procedure.”
The judge denounces the fact that she denounced Colau only to obtain the “media effect of involving a politician” in a criminal case despite knowing that the former mayor had “no participation” in the reported events: alleged coercion – which was never existed – to deny building permits to Vauras if it did not provide social rents to families occupying one of its properties.
The fund, the togada continues, complained against the former mayor “simply because the housing policies” of the mandate of the commons in the council were not favorable to her and that they caused her economic damages.
“The legitimate discrepancy with the housing policies of a ruler, the ideology of the party that supports him and the economic damages suffered do not justify the involvement of politicians in a criminal process,” says Judge García, one of the investigating judges of Barcelona. most respected and valued by prosecutors and lawyers of all ideological tendencies.
The judicial resolution comes in the midst of a debate in Spain about ‘lawfare’, an ambiguous concept but which can be summarized as the use of criminal proceedings based on spurious interests and not on the rule of law to harm political rivals. The leadership of the Judiciary has attacked a political agreement between PSOE and Junts that contained the term ‘lawfare’, but has not commented on Colau’s case or the closure of the investigation into Podemos’s finances.
Objective: for Colau to go through the court
Although the judge already refused to investigate Vauras’ complaint in 2020, the Barcelona Court forced her to reopen the case and name the then mayor as being investigated. Result: Colau had to go to testify on the eve of the municipal elections and has spent three years with an open case that has ended in nothing. The case never had the impetus of the Prosecutor’s Office, which did not see any crime.
The result has been the same – the file – as three years ago, but in this period the complainants have achieved headlines in the media that are not always critical of their procedural strategy and keeping a mayor of Barcelona under investigation. This extreme was taken advantage of by the right-wing opposition to accuse Colau of “conspiracy with squatters,” an expression that Vauras used in her complaint.
That Vauras’ complaint was weak was evident from the beginning of the case: the fund accused Colau of coercion supposedly produced in a meeting in which the then mayor was not present and of prevarication due to files that she did not process.
The investigation proceedings carried out at the request of the fund have confirmed that the case was not going anywhere. For example, the testimony of those responsible for Vauras, who before the judge were unable to detail what specific threat was made to them by the councilors and the official under investigation despite having reported them for coercion. And they recorded the meetings without the City Council knowing.
What’s more, the magistrate drops that the recording of the meeting with the councilors just four months before the presentation of the complaint was already part of Vauras’ judicial strategy against Colau. It was after the councilors refused to expedite building permits.
The proximity between the last meeting and the complaint “makes one think,” the report states, that in the face of the disagreements between the City Council and Vauras and the heavy economic losses, those responsible for the fund “attended the meetings to record them and contribute them to the complaint that “They already had in mind to present.”
Three years with an open case
The judge also takes advantage of the resolution to regret the three-year delay in processing the case, which she defines as an “evil extended to all public services,” from Health to Justice.
“We have suffered a dirty ‘lawfare’ war against Ada Colau and her team,” denounced the spokesperson for the commons in Barcelona City Council, Janet Sanz. The comuns are now assessing how Colau and councilors Marc Serra and Lucía Martín can be compensated for the three years of open judicial process, although any step will not be taken until the Barcelona Court confirms the file of the case dictated by the judge.
It should also be remembered that the fund’s lawyer, María José Tarancón, is a repeat offender: in April of this year she filed a complaint against Colau on behalf of the Juninmo real estate company that is similar to that of the Vauras case. For the new complaint, the lawyer even used detective reports. The comuns hope that, like that of Vauras and the 15 previous complaints, the case will also end up on file.