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A new blow by Spain's Court of Accounts against the Catalan pro-independence leaders. Having already claimed the figure of 4.1 million euros as liable to be repaid for the expenses of the independence referendum on 1st October, 2017, it has placed its magnifying glass on the Catalan government's foreign ministry, and especially, its Diplocat network of offices abroad, between the 2011-2017 period. has learnt that the Spanish body responsible for auditing public spending has now begun to issue summonses, having concluded its investigation, and a total of 36 people, including former Catalan presidents Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont and vice president Oriol Junqueras, are targetted. On the day when Catalans receive presents of books, the Madrid court has sent court citations. It remains to be seen the final figure which the Court of Accounts will call on to be deposited - equivalent to the amount that they believe to have been unlawfully spent, which if confirmed by the trial, would have to be paid. However, the initial amount estimated was around 35 million euros.

According to these Court of Auditors sources, following the completion of the investigation, an order was issued to bring before the court those allegedly responsible for the Catalan administraton's foreign affairs spending. A total of 35 people, including former presidents Mas and Puigdemont and former vice president Oriol Junqueras, and many other ex-ministers: Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull, Francesc Homs, Neus Munté and Andreu Mas Colell.

The list continues with the officials on the next rung down: general departmental secretaries Roger Albinyana, Amadeu Altafaj, Lluis Betran, Albert Carrers, David Mascort, Joaquim Nin, Jordi Vilajoana, Aleix Villatoro and Pau Villòria. Also included are the Catalan government's own auditors general, Maria Vidal and Rosa Vidal; delegated auditors Jordi Serra, Javier Acín, Virginia Astigarraga and Francesc Cubel, and the general secretary of the Diplocat body, Albert Royo. The list ends with the names of the delegates of the Catalan government in Germany, the UK, France, Geneva, Poland, the US, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, Croatia, Austria and the delegate to the EU.

Thus, legal representatives of the Catalan government, its Diplocat  body, as well as those representing the anti-independence group Societat Civil Catalana and Advocats Catalans per la Constitució - entities which initiated the claim - have been called to court for the  "provisional liquidation" of the potentially huge sum on June 29th at the Court of Auditors in Madrid. 

Complementary settlement

Given that the amounts subject to the Court investigation are separate from the 4.1 million euros already demanded as a deposit in relation to the amount calculated as spending on the 1st October referendum, the summons is classed as a complementary settlement.

On January 28th last year, the Court of Auditors officially communicated to president Carles Puigdemont, vice president Oriol Junqueras and 26 officials of the Catalan government the figure of 4.1 million euros as the amount it considered to have been misappropriated illegally for purposes relating to the referendum. Among the largest items included in this total were rehabilitation costs of Catalonia's CTTI telecommunications centre (1.4 million euros), the so-called Civisme promotional campaign on the referendum (357,068 euros), and the costs of international observers for the referendum (366,664 euros). The sum of 4.1 million euros was deposited in February this year.

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