Leading Catalan Socialist (PSC) politician Núria Marín, who is mayor of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and president of Barcelona's provincial authority, has said this evening she won't resign, after being charged today with offences of misuse of public funds and failure to take action against a crime. Today's accusations mean that the Socialist mayor of Catalonia's second largest city has herself now been implicated in the case of alleged fraudulent accounting in the Sports Council of the city she governs.
Marín, who had been summoned to appear as a witness by Spanish police investigating the case, was interviewed for more than three hours at the Verneda police station and ended up leaving as a defendant, after being arrested. She was remanded at large with the obligation to appear before the judge when required.
The case is investigating subsidies received by the Sports Council of L'Hospitalet from the city council led by Marín, as well as the funds it received from the Catalan Sports Council. Specifically, the judge is looking into whether the L'Hospitalet sports body used some of the public aid it manages for private purposes and whether it justified this with false documentation.
According to sources close to the investigation, the members of the alleged corruption plot hid 400,000 euros of funds of the Sports Council - on which the city council has five representatives - in its 2019 accounts, by supposedly presenting double accounting. Reducing the declared income made the Sports Council eligible for the subsidies it received from the L'Hospitalet city council and the Catalan Sports Council, it is alleged.
The other arrests
The case erupted last June, with the arrests of the city's second deputy mayor, Cristian Alcázar, and the city councillor responsible for sports, Cristóbal Plaza, both also from the PSC, following a complaint by another councillor from the same party. There are now more than a dozen people charged.
Arrests began on June 10th and have continued over the following months. In addition to members of the municipal government, the Catalan government's secretary of sports, Gerard Figueras, has also been accused in the case.