Former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has failed in his attempt to block Andorra's 'letters rogatory' over Operation Catalonia. The Madrid Audience court has rejected the appeals presented by both Rajoy and his two former ministers Jorge Fernández Díaz and Cristóbal Montoro against the investigation opened by Andorran justice into an alleged crime of coercion of constitutional bodies, based on the complaint by the former owners of two banks, the Banca Privada de Andorra (BPA) and Banco Madrid, in the context of the Spanish dirty war against the Catalan independence movement, known as Operation Catalonia.
The Madrid Audience, in fact, agreed with the former People's Party leader and Spanish PM that the judge of Madrid investigative court 32 should have found against the Andorran letters rogatory - the term given to a demand for judicial assistance from a foreign jurisdication - over the Operation Catalonia case in which Rajoy is being investigated. However, the higher court determined that it could not admit his appeal because the judge had already acted and responded to Andorra, and therefore it endorsed the judicial assistance claimed by the Andorran authorities. In three resolutions, to which Europa Press has had access, the judges pronounced similarly in the case of the former Spanish interior minister Jorge Fernández Díaz and treasury minister Cristóbal Montoro, but, as in the Rajoy case, the appeals were rejected because the letters rogatory had already been processed.
Complaint against Rajoy admitted in 2020
The justice system of the Principality of Andorra is investigating Mariano Rajoy, Jorge Fernández Díaz and Cristóbal Montoro for alleged crimes of coercion, threats, blackmail, extortion, coercion of constitutional bodies and document forgery for their alleged attempts to find out, "via illegal means", confidential banking information on alleged accounts held by former Catalan presidents Jordi Pujol and Artur Mas, as well as the former vice-president Oriol Junqueras. These accusations respond to the complaint filed by representatives of the Banca Privada de Andorra, who laid complaints of extortion, coercion and blackmail committed by Spanish National Police officers starting in 2014 to illegally obtain banking details, protected by Andorran law, on several pro-independence leaders and their families. The judge admitted the complaint in October 2020, which was also directed against the former Spanish interior ministry secretary Francisco Martínez Vázquez and the former director general of the Spanish National Police, Ignacio Cosidó.
Rajoy, Fernández Díaz and Montoro alleged before the higher Madrid court that their rights had been violated because the lower court number 32, when it processed the letters rogatory, failed to carry out the "prior check of legality in accordance with national and conventional legislation in matters of international cooperation". In September, the Spanish public prosecution service asked for Rajoy's appeal to be considered, considering that his "right of defence and constitutional principles" had been violated by processing a rogatory letters request sent by the Andorran authorities for this complaint. Now, the judges of the Madrid Audiencia have handed a bittersweet ruling to the former Spanish government officials, affirming that they were right, but indicating that, at the current point which the procedure has reached, it is no longer possible to revoke the decision of the judge who agreed to practice "a diligence already carried out and exhausted". On July 14th, the actions taken by agents of the Spanish National Police to comply with the rogatory letters presented by Andorra were added to this court procedure.