The case moves forward. The judge of the High Court of Catalonia (TSJC) who investigated the speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Laura Borràs, for alleged actions when she was director of the cultural body Institute of Catalan Letters (ILC) has issued a ruling this Wednesday in which he passes the finalised investigation on to the public prosecutors so that they can present a formal indictment and request the opening of a trial or a request to close the case against Borràs, her friend Isaías Herrero, to whom she is alleged to have awarded website contracts for the cultural institution, a friend of Herrero's, Andreu P., and ILC official Roger Espar. In the resolution, judge Jordi Seguí indicates that there is sufficient evidence to try them for a continued crime of abuse of authority, administrative fraud, forgery of a commercial document and the continuing crime of misappropriation of public funds. The total funds involved amount to about 309,000 euros. In other words, the TSJC places the speaker Borràs on step from the courtroom.
In the ruling, 33 pages long, the judge Jordi Seguí sets out the eighteen contracts that the cultural body awarded to Herrero or to companies linked to him between 2013 and 2016. And it adds: “In the eighteen minor contracts mentioned, Laura Borràs intervened in her capacity as director of the ILC, proposing the hiring, agreeing to award the contracts, approving the expenditure, certifying the execution of the service, approving the corresponding invoice and finally authorizing the payment, except for the contract 14/2015, not paid due to lack of presentation of an invoice”. It also maintains that "the computer work covered by the aforementioned contracts was carried out uninterruptedly for more than four years (2013-2017)".
Evidence against Borràs
Although the work was carried out, judge Seguí concludes that “the evidence presented appears to show that Laura Borràs abused her functions as director of the ILC by making unjust decisions in the awarding of the eighteen minor contracts, fully aware that this was in contradiction with the legal requirements on public sector contracts, omitting real competition in order only to favour the interests of Isaiah Herrero to the detriment of the defence of the general interest”.
One of the most recent actions in the case took place in May, when Roger Espar, an employee in the ILC's management from 2013 to 2016, asked to testify as a person under investigation before the TSJC and said that Laura Borràs as director of the institution was the one who decided which companies obtained contracts under 17,000 euros, according to judicial sources. Espar also provided the court with WhatsApp voice messages that he received from Borràs, when she was no longer director of the institution, one in which she asked him to pay a pending account to Herrero and another in which she asked him to notify her if the Mossos police returned to the ILC and asked for her friend, already under investigation.
Official's case not closed
The lawyer for ILC employee Espar asked for the case against him to be closed, which the judge did not accept. "The request to dismiss the case with respect to this investigated person must be rejected, since the totality of the evidence seen reveals that Roger Espar was conscious that Isaías Herrero acted indistinctly before the ILC in his own name and also under the appearance of third parties", and that he did not at any time "make objections to this situation" despite reaching higher levels of responsibility in management. Now, it is expected that the public prosecutors will present the indictment against Borràs and the other three defendants, and that the TSJC will rule to open the trial and set a date. However, the prosecution's resolution is not final and the speaker of the Catalan Parliament may appeal it.