Time is running out to respond to the demand for a payment of 5.4 million euros which Spain's Court of Accounts seeks from 34 former members and senior government officials. As well as the operation carried out by the Catalan government today under which public financial institution the ICF will, after all, guarantee the bond sums through the Complementary Risk Fund which the government created, new attempts to appeal against the financial demands of the supervisory body are also still underway.
The defence team of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has filed an appeal with the Court of Accounts against its refusal to extend the deadline for the enormous bail payments it has demanded in its proceedings related to the use Catalan foreign ministry funds for the promotion of the independence process.
The appeal filed by the Puigdemont defence before the Spanish accounts auditing body calls for an extension of the payment period, which ends in the next few hours, and the suspension of the resolution refusing the extension of the term until the appeal is resolved.
Denial of right to defence
The appeal claims that the ruling in which the Court of Accounts refuses to extend its deadline for receiving the bond payments does not provide them with reasons why an extension cannot be accepted or why 15 days is considered sufficient time to deposit the the amount of 2,085,507 euros, the sum claimed from Puigdemont.
"The only interpretation we can make of this is that we are facing a resolution that is clearly unmotivated and disproportionate and, without doubt, violating the right to a defence," warns the text which denounces that "an irrational deadline has been established that prevents the ability to obtain the amounts, or the necessary guarantees”.
Puigdemont's defence lawyers once again denounce the "lack of independence and impartiality of the investigating delegate" of the Court of Accounts. The appeal also rejects that this is a case of civil liability, given that the alleged victim, the government of the Generalitat of Catalonia, denies that it has suffered any damage. The defence case therefore concludes that this is in reality an accusation of a criminal nature, which in addition, is being exercised by the public prosecutors, and accordingly it claims the guarantees inherent in a judicial process.
The appeal insists that Puigdemont was not informed of the procedure until practically the moment of being summonsed for the announcement of the provisional payments; it denounces the violation of the right to effective judicial protection, as well as violation of the right to defence, an adversarial process, the presumption of innocence, and the legal principle of equality of arms. In consequence, it it demands the suspension of actions already carried out and of the present demands.
Double the bond moaney sought
Finally, it denounces the violation of the principle non bis in idem, on the duplicity of bond amounts to ensure the same responsibility. "It is materially intended to carry out double punishment for the same events," warns the statement, asserting that at the 2019 Catalan leaders' trial in the Supreme Court, the amounts that the audit supervisor body now wants to claim should have been presented.