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At a time of high political tension in Spain, new incriminating audio recordings made by former police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo have come to light, showing clearly how the Spanish government carried out a campaign of "dirty ops" which has come to be known as Operation Catalonia. The operation was led by the interior ministry of Jorge Fernández Díaz, under Mariano Rajoy's PP government, and it targeted Catalan political leaders with the idea of discrediting the independence movement that was beginning to grow strong. The audios, published by the pro-Socialist daily El País, detail that the intention was to take aim at former Catalan president Jordi Pujol by exposing a claimed bank account in Switzerland in order to destroy his political image. However, no bank statement linked to the Pujols was ever found in Switzerland, and as the newspaper explains, due to a lack of evidence, Spanish police never asked for assistance from a Swiss bank.

The plan of the Spanish interior ministry and its illegal operators, the so-called "state sewers" - of which José Manuel Villarejo was an element - was to take aim at the growing pro-independence movement to discredit political leaders, by virtually any means possible, using measures such as faking police reports that denounced serious crimes of corruption among pro-independence politicians. Such documents, manipulated by the Spanish police and other elements, were leaked to certain media during the Catalan election campaign of November 2012. It was in this electoral context that the conversations - recorded by police commissioner Villarejo, who made extensive audio files - took place on November 14th, 2012, two weeks before the snap election in Catalonia. The participants: Villarejo and official Francisco Martínez, then chief of staff to the interior minister, who was promoted to be undersecretary for security two months later.

If they get hold of Pujol's bank statement in Switzerland, that is deadly

This was one of the many statements revealed by the audios published by El País, revealing explicit intentions and an operation of harrassment and discredit at all costs against former president Pujol and other pro-independence leaders such as Artur Mas, Xavier Trias and Oriol Junqueras. Days after the conversations, the newspaper El Mundo began publishing the contents of an alleged police report linking accounts in Switzerland to Pujol and Mas with the corruption that had come to light in their political grouping, CiU. "The Pujols have 137 million euros in Geneva, according to the police," stated the Madrid newspaper, referring to a police report of dubious credibility. In fact, days later the interior ministry denied the existence of the report.

The modus operandi of these conversations was an all-out dirty war against the leaders of a movement that in 2012 was beginning to gain strength. The illegal machinery of the Spanish state, led by the interior ministry, manoeuvred to remove personalities who led the independentists from the political map. Today, years later, these audios place more evidence on the table about the siege that Pujol and pro-independence circles endured during those years. At the same time, they fuel new speculation, given that this evidence incriminating the People's Party has emerged at a time when Pedro Sánchez's governing Socialists have their backs to the wall over their role in the Catalangate espionage scandal.