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Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena doesn't have enough evidence for the German court to conclude that Carles Puigdemont committed the crime of misuse of public funds. The magistrate, when sending the additional information requested by the higher regional court of Schleswig-Holstein, didn't yet have documentation from Spain's treasury ministry about the Catalan government's payments. That report wasn't completed until 3rd May. Llarena, however, had sent his report to the German court on 23rd April, explaining the situation, according to the newspaper Ara.

The treasury's report, with details of the alleged payments made by the Catalan administration for last year's independence referendum, is necessary to demonstrate the crime of misuse of public funds Puigdemont is accused of and for which his extradition has been requested. The German court has already refused his extradition on the charge of rebellion.

Lacking the treasury's information, Llarena did explain in his report the interview in newspaper El Mundo given by the department's minister, Cristóbal Montoro, in which he said the referendum wasn't paid for with public money. The judge said he had immediately asked for the information behind the minister's statement, but hadn't yet received a reply.

The judge could not "give definitive information about this aspect, having still not received the report from the treasury", he wrote, in an apparent recrimination of Montoro and his department.

Standing firm

Nonetheless, it's very revealing that Llarena should stand firm in the narrative of alleged misuse of public funds based on the reports from the Civil Guard gendarmerie, reports which are apparently incomplete (link in Catalan). "This instructing judge recognises the strength of the evidence upon which the prosecution for a charge of misuse of public funds is based", he wrote, alluding to questions like the mailing of electoral documentation, which the police reports claim was paid for with public money. As such, Llarena says that although he cannot prove the payments, he believes there is evidence they took place.

The treasury, however, which has had complete control of the Catalan government's accounts since the month before the referendum, between January and April this year sent five reports to a judge in Barcelona, Juan Antonio Ramírez Sunyer, in charge of a separate investigation into the referendum. None of these reports includes evidence for the charge of misuse of public funds pro-independence leaders are facing. Llarena has also received these reports.

The Supreme Court judge, however, isn't abandoning the charge of misuse of public funds, like neither he has abandoned the charge of rebellion, journalist Ernesto Ekaizer reported this morning on El matí de Catalunya Ràdio. "As regards both rebellion and misuse of public funds, the outlook is ever worse," said the journalist. He also referred to political prisoners Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, saying that the "theory of violence" against them cannot be backed up either because "they asked the demonstrators to leave peacefully". Llarena "is omitting part of the reality", he said.

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