A recent report sent by the Spanish government to Barcelona's court number 13 states that there was no misuse of public funds in the organisation or holding of the referendum on 1st October last year. Although the document had to be produced by officials in the Catalan government intervened in by Madrid, at the moment of truth, the sender was none other than the Spanish Treasury Department, headed by Cristóbal Montoro. The news is important, given that if the alleged crimes under investigation by Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena are rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, malfeasance and disobedience, it remains to be seen how he will construct his accusations for the trial as the hypothetical crimes fall. And not just the formula for his final report, but also for the European Arrest Warrant he will send to Brussels to request the extradition of president Puigdemont and the four ministers with him in the heart of Europe: Toni Comín, Clara Ponsatí, Meritxell Serret and Lluís Puig.
The Spanish government's delay in sending the report has allowed for it to be taken for granted for a long time that the budget item of five million euros (£4.4 million, $6.1 million) set up in the Catalan government's budget for "electoral consultations" had been earmarked for organising the referendum. High-ranking officials had consistently denied it actively and passively, but the ministry's document is decisive. Neither diverting money nor, therefore, misuse of public funds. We'll see what use judge Llarena ends up making of this report, but the hypothetical crime has from now on is much more difficult to prove.
Of the other four alleged crimes, many legal scholars have said that rebellion and sedition didn't take place. The first has even been questioned by former Spanish prime minister Felipe González and both have been disavowed by personalities from the world of law as unlikely to be in agreement with the independence movement as former public prosecutor José María Mena and former Supreme Court judge José Antonio Martín Pallín. Mena and Pallín aren't the only ones but they do symbolise a conclusive viewpoint from a very different ideological standpoint. That gives an idea of the arduous path awaiting Llarena in Brussels if he does end up issuing the European Arrest Warrant for all the crimes he's handling or in Switzerland in the case of former CUP deputy and leader Anna Gabriel, about whom he's also suggested he will issue an arrest and extradition warrant at the appropriate time.
In the end, it's difficult to see anything more than disobedience in the case we're concerned about and that's very little for the whole political and legal apparatus put into action against the Catalan independence movement. And there are ever more people seeing this. Within and, above all, outside of Spain: in that Europe whose courts will one day also have to judge the case.