The Spanish Civil Guard had authorization from the National Audience criminal court to tap into mobile phones - and in some cases, install remote software, with the specific spyware system still unclear - on about 40 mobile phones of politicians and Catalan pro-independence activists, between 2019 and 2020, according to the investigative summary of the Democratic Tsunami case, to which ElNacional.cat has had access. The Junts MP, Joan Canadell, when he was president of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, is one of the people whose cell phone was tapped until June 2020, and also the businessperson Joan Matalama, brother of Josep Maria Matamala, friend of Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, and former senator. Most of the conversations that were transcribed, and of interest to the inquiry, related to the constitution of the Catalan exile body, the Council of the Republic, as well as to the mobilizations against the Supreme Court's verdicts in the Catalan leaders' trial, on October 14th, 2019.
The former deputy for the left-wing CUP party, David Fernández, is another of those affected, with the remote monitoring of his phone authorized in January and March 2020, but in his case, the Civil Guard was unable to carry out the tapping, according to Vilaweb. Fernández, together with two other CUP representatives, Albert Botran and Carles Riera, filed a complaint against Spain's National Intelligence Centre (CNI) and the NSO company, owner of the system, for having spied on them with Pegasus software. On behalf of all three, lawyer Benet Salellas filed the complaint, which is being investigated by Barcelona Court No32, which also investigated the first complaints over Pegasus espionage from the Republican Left (ERC) party. All three are part of the list of 65 people whose targetting by espionage programs was revealed in the Catalangate report, published by Canadian research centre Citizen Lab. Matamala and Canadell also appear in this list.
The former deputy of left-wing En Comú Podem, Albano Dante Fachín, has also denounced this week that he was spied on by the Civil Guard in the Democratic Tsunami case, together with his Octuvre.cat colleague, Marta Sibina.
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Dante Fachín is also on the Catalangate list of the 65 people spied on using Pegasus, but it has not yet been clarified that it is the same investigation and that it was also ordered by the judge in the Tsunami case, Manuel García-Castellón. However, there are more names that match both the Catalangate investigation and the Democratic Tsunami case, one of them being computer scientist Elies Campo.
In the court's investigative summary of the Tsunami case, judge García-Castellón not only authorized the electronic tapping of telephones, but also the installation of an "SIL interception software system, which allows, remotely and electronically, the examination at a distance and without the owner's knowledge of the content", as stated in a court resolution of October 10th, 2019 granting access for two mobile phones of one of the people under investigation for a month, considering the person dangerous due to the crime of terrorism. One of the indications given by the Civil Guard is that the person is "leader of a clandestine force to disrupt public peace", and one of the mobilizations that this person promoted was the "Picnic for the Republic".
The resolution details that after the installation of this software on computer and mobile devices, "it will proceed to send, via communication technology-encrypted data packets to guarantee confidentiality, the information necessary for the investigation to the Telecommunications Interception System of the Civil Guard." The judge also allowed the software to access the contacts, call log information, email account associated with the terminal, and web browsing history. That is, basically, everything.
The 12 people investigated
The data accessing carried out on the 40 mobile phones was not very successful in furthering the investigation and the Tsunami findings were nourished by that of the Volhov case, directed by the judge of Barcelona Court No1, who in October 2020, authorized the arrests of 20 people, among them Josep Lluís Alay, director of Carles Puigdemont's office, whose cell phone was used to add dressing to the accusations. Alay has also lodged a complaint with a Barcelona court that his mobile phone was infected with Pegasus. Finally, this November 6th, judge García-Castellón made a list of 12 people under investigation for terrorism in the Tsunami case, including president Puigdemont and ERC secretary general Marta Rovira. The judge was harshly criticized because he released his resolution in the same week as the conclusion of the PSOE-Junts negotiations allowed Pedro Sánchez to form a new government and agreed to pass a amnesty law.