A plenary session of Spain's Court of Auditors has this Thursday approved a report on the Catalan government's international delegations and Diplocat (Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia). The report concludes that public money was used to promote the independence push abroad.
According to the court, between 2011 and 2017, the Catalan government spent more than 27 million euros (£23 million; $30 million) on delegation activities abroad and another almost 16 million on Diplocat (£14 million; $18 million). Part of this money, they say, was dedicated to activities relating to the sovereignty process.
The court says that the delegations were created under an autonomous finance system which allowed them to carry out all manner of spending without needing to undergo checks first, which they could have caused "innumerable irregularities in carrying out activities and in financial management".
327,000 euros without justification
Specifically, they found at least 456 activities between 2013 and February 2016 "expressly in the government's own documentation with the sovereignty process". This "unjustified" spending reportedly totalled 327,736.34€ (£280,000; $370,000).
For their part, Diplocat spent 15.8 million euros in total between 2011 and 2017, of which more than 74% was aimed at "promoting, publicising and justifying the sovereignty process".
Among the payment was 1.39 million euros to Independent Diplomat, a non-profit created by a former British diplomat which has worked with a number of unrecognised governments. The court says Diplocat contracted their services between 2013 and 2015, "ignoring all the checks and reports which they should have had to meet if the government had done it themselves".
Their work helped then-president Artur Mas and his ministers arrange meetings with representatives of international organisations, diplomats from different countries, EU civil servants, representatives of different governments and different UN bodies.
Among the other payments detailed by the court are more than 300,000 euros for documents including pro-independence advertising, and more than 500,000 euros that the delegations spent on consulting or reports whose objectives are either not recorded or don't fall within their competences.