The Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police) maintained an "unofficial" communication with Belgian police who asked them if they had any information about the imam of Ripoll, Abdelbaki es Satty, considered the mastermind behind the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils. Sources from the Catalan Interior ministry have said they limited themselves to answering that they did not have any information on him.
The ministry has stated that a police agent from Vilvoorde, near Brussels, sent an email in March 2016 to a leader of the general information commission of the Mossos who they had met at a conference two years earlier, asking if they had information about the imam, who wanted to look for work in the small Belgian city.
The head of the Strategic Analysis Unit of the Mossos searched their database, which produced no results about the imam. For this reason, in their answer to the Vilvoorde police, which the Interior ministry maintains was not carried out through an official channel, the commander of information of the Mossos said they had no information about Es Satty.
In their email reply, the policeman did, however, note that they had a record of someone with the same surname, Mustafa es Satty. He had had been investigated in 2006 in an operation against the jihadism in a mosque in Vilanova i la Geltrú.
According to the Interior ministry, this information request was carried out through informal channels, since the request and delivery of official information by the Mossos to the police of other countries has to go through the Spanish state.
As a matter of fact, this Wednesday, the Spanish Interior ministry stated that they had not received any request on the part of Belgium about the imam and according to sources within the anti-terrorist fight, neither the National Police, nor the Civil Guard have evidence of having received any question from Belgian about the imam in question.
The mayor of Vilvoorde, Hans Bonte, reiterated this Wednesday his statement that his city's police had contacted the police of Barcelona once they were aware of the suspicious behaviour of imam Es Satty. "I confirm it," said Bonte. Moreover, the mayor specified that the question was asked by the police of Vilvoorde-Malechen to the "police of Barcelona".