Six reports found among the documentation seized in 2017 to the retired commissioner José Manuel Villarejo point to the alleged maneuvers of the State sewers against Catalan independence leaders.
Commissioner Enrique García Castaño suggested in his last statement before Judge Manuel García-Castellón for the Kitchen case, on December 14, that the Interior leadership of the Government of Mariano Rajoy was informed about “other” clandestine operations beyond spying on Luis Bárcenas.
He was referring, according to sources close to the commissioner, to the one baptized as Operation Catalonia. No one asked him about it. Until now, neither the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office nor the magistrate have initiated investigations into this operation considering that “it does not fit into any article of the Penal Code.
The last interrogation in the National Court to Commissioner García Castaño, known as El Gordo , was about to end.
After answering the questions of the representative of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, the policeman, who appeared as a defendant, answered the questions raised by the defense lawyer of one of the main victims of his collaboration with the justice system, the former Secretary of State for Security Francisco Martinez.
The lawyer tried to dismantle previous testimonies of the commissioner and, specifically, the one in which he assured that, in 2013, a computer equipment was bought with reserved funds so that Martínez could consult the documentation that the parapolice plot had managed to snatch in Operation Kitchen from the ex-treasurer of the PP Luis Bárcenasafter stealing two old cell phones.
Despite the lawyer’s insistence, the policeman was firm. “That computer was bought to take to his office [Martinez’s] and it was taken to his office,” said García Castaño, who then stated: “Not only [ERA] for the Bárcenas issue, but for other things.”
The lawyer for the former senior Interior official did not try to find out what those “other things” were. Neither did they ask the commissioner or the Prosecutor’s Office or Judge García-Castellón.
Police sources in the vicinity of García Castaño assure EL PAÍS that, with this generic expression, the commissioner was referring to the so-called Operation Catalonia, the information intoxication campaign supposedly gestated within the Ministry of the Interior through the so-called political brigade for , through alleged police reports loaded with serious accusations of corruption, to discredit the main leaders of the Catalan independence movement.
“If they had asked him more, the commissioner would have provided more information on these maneuvers,” this same source is convinced. Operation Catalonia has planned from the beginning of the investigation of the Villarejo case.
On November 3, 2017, the day on which agents of the Police Interim Affairs Unit detained the retired commissioner and several people around him, documents were already located that pointed to the existence of these maneuvers against the Catalan independence movement and the participation in it by the policeman, currently incarcerated.
A 121-page judicial document, called “index diligence” and incorporated into the summary at the end of 2018 with an enumeration of all the paper documentation intervened in a total of 14 records of homes and offices, including several related to Villarejo and his partner , the lawyer Rafael Redondo, confirms the finding of at least six reports on this clandestine operation.
Thus, in the offices that Cenyt, the company on which Villarejo pivoted his entire corporate network, had in the central Plaza Pablo Ruiz Picasso, in Madrid, the police located at least three.
Along with the receipts that reflect the payments with reserved funds that the police plot made to Bárcenas’ driver or 50 pages on “bank movements” attributed to the “Popular Party company,” the police intervened a 34-page report “relating to various people” , among them the former Catalan president Artur Mas, according to the judicial document, recently transferred to the parties in the indictment.
In the months prior to the regional elections of November 25, 2012, with which he sought to obtain a sovereign majority, Mas was subject toan information poisoning campaign through alleged police reports claiming that he had money hidden in Switzerland. Those accusations were never proven true.
In Cenyt’s offices, the researchers also located a document, one page long and dated January 7, 2014, with the name of businessman and politician David Madí , who was Secretary of Communication of the Generalitat with Mas as president and man of his utmost confidence.
Madí was arrested by the Civil Guard last October within Operation Voloh, in which the alleged diversion of public funds to the process is being investigated .
This investigation attributes to Madí having created a “clandestine unit” of counterintelligence within the Mossos d’Esquadra and being linked to the Tsunami Democràtic platform, which anonymously led the October 2019 protests against the procés sentence .
The third document located in the Villarejo offices was a “set of pages” on the financing of the Unió Democrática de Catalunya, the now defunct political formation that, together with Convergència, was part of the CiU federation of parties, hegemonic for years in the Parliament .
Unió recognized, in 2013, as a result of the so-called Pallerols case , that it had been financed illegally through subsidies for the training of the unemployed from the European Union (EU).
The police also located papers on Operation Catalonia at the address that the commissioner has in the Madrid town of Boadilla del Monte, according to the court document. There, the researchers intervened at least three on Catalonia.
The first, of five pages, was a report dated September 26, 2017 on the illegal referendum that days later was held in that autonomous community. The other two refer to specific people close to the independence movement: former ERC deputy Ramón Viñals Soler (three pages) and Xavier Viñals Capdepon(two).
The latter, president of the ProSelecciones Deportivas Catalanas Platform, was dismissed from his position as honorary consul of Latvia in Barcelona after displaying a pro-independence flag during the celebration of a Diada. The ex – consul, who is also credited with a role highlighted in the act of protest that flooded in 2015, stellate Camp Nou during a match of the Champions of the Football Club Barcelona, asked last July in person to the cause of the considered victim Villarejo.
Despite these findings, neither Judge García-Castellón nor the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office have so far included Operation Catalonia in the judicial investigation of the Villarejo case or in the separate piece that has uncovered the illegal espionage of Bárcenas.
Three of those reports – those referring to Mas, the former Latvian consul and Unió’s finances – were classified by the judge, last April, as confidential, considering that they could contain “official secrets,” according to Vozpópuli .
Anticorruption sources indicate that the activities of the political brigade revealed by this documentation “do not fit into any article of the Penal Code” and, therefore, to date their representatives have not urged an investigation.
Minutes after García Castaño testified on December 14, Commissioner Eugenio Pino, the chief operative of the National Police when the espionage of Bárcenas took place, appeared before the judge.
Designated in 2017 by the Congressional Investigative Commission as the true leader of the political brigadeCommissioner Pino also admitted that the activities of the members of that group of agents went beyond Operation Kitchen.
Asked by prosecutor Miguel Serrano, the former police chief pointed out that Villarejo, then under his orders, “made notes of everything” that he later sent to a police file called GATI.
“Also about Barcelona”, he affirmed then, in what was an implicit confirmation of the presumed participation of the currently imprisoned policeman in an Operation Catalonia that gradually emerges between the cracks of the Kitchen case .