13th April 2024
Carles Puigdemont
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Judges extend probes into Puigdemont’s alleged ‘Kremlin ties’ and ‘Tsunami terrorism’

On the eve of a key vote in the Spanish Congress on a controversial amnesty law for Catalan activists and politicians involved in a failed independence bid in 2017, two judges have extended investigations into several events and individuals, including of former president Carles Puigdemont (main image). 

Firstly, Manuel García Castellón, the judge investigating Puigdemont and 11 others for alleged terrorism related to the actions of protest group Tsunami Democràtic, has extended his investigation for six months, saying there were still some aspects of the case to be investigated. ALSO READ: Spanish government tweaks terrorism clauses in draft amnesty law.

At the same time a Barcelona judge investigating Puigdemont‘s alleged ties with Russia has also extended his probe for another six months, highlighting links between his entourage and the Italian and German far-right.

The judge said that after reviewing documents, he found data confirming the ‘close personal relationships’ between some people close to Puigdemont and people of Russian, German and Italian nationality, some of whom had links to Russian intelligence services. 

Among those close to Puigdemont under investigation are his office manager Josep Lluís Alay, businessman Víctor Terradellas and computer specialist Jaume Cabaní.   

The court document mentions two meetings between Terradellas and Russian individuals, one of them in the Catalan government headquarters with the presence of Puigdemont, just before the unilateral declaration of independence in 2017.  

Documentation reportedly also refers to an offer of several thousand soldiers and millions of dollars in exchange for an independent Catalonia that would become a ‘cryptocurrency haven’. 

The court decision also establishes that Alay had a series of conversations with Puigdemont’s lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, through messages that ‘unequivocally reveal his contacts with high-ranking Kremlin officials’. 

‘Some (of the Russians) held diplomatic roles at the time or had relationships with the Russian secret service,’ the judge wrote, saying such contacts were a part of ‘the Russian government’s political strategy … to destabilise democracy and the European Union’.

The aim is to determine whether Puigdemont had contact with the Kremlin and sought Russian support for an eventual Catalan state in exchange for mainly financial ‘compensations’.

The decision by the judge to extend the investigation for another six months due to the ‘complexity of the case’ was announced a day before Spanish MPs were to vote on the controversial amnesty law. ALSO READ: Amnesty bill registered in Spanish Congress – full details.

The amnesty law was a demand made by Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) party in exchange for supporting a parliamentary vote in November that allowed Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to serve a new term in office. ALSO READ: Controversial Catalan amnesty bill passes first hurdle in Spanish Congress.

ALSO READ: Pedro Sánchez faces backlash and tough legislature ahead due to Catalan deal.

ALSO READ: The PSOE and Junts sign a pact that will guarantee investiture of Pedro Sánchez.

Click here for all our reports related to Catalan independence.

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