Spanish public prosecutors are requesting six years' imprisonment, and 15 years of disqualification from holding public office for Miquel Buch, who was Catalan interior minister from May 2018 until September last year. Prosecutors accuse him of creating a position of responsibility for the bodyguard of Carles Puigdemont who was in charge of his safety in Brussels, in order to give the bodyguard the legal coverage to work. Buch is accused of abuse of office and misuse of public funds.
The bodyguard, Mossos d'Esquadra police office Lluís Escolà is also accused and about to go to trial. For Escolà, the prosecution demands four and a half years in prison and a 13 year ban on holding office. He is also accused of abuse of office and misuse of public funds.
The prosecutor maintains that Buch decided to provide Puigdemont with a protection service abroad with "individuals in his strictest confidence at the expense of the public treasury."
"Evaded court proceedings"
The accusation states that the appointment of Escolà was made "solely and exclusively for the illegitimate and undisguised purpose of providing cover and protection to a person in a 'search and capture' legal situation due to having evaded court proceedings under which he was charged with serious crimes, as was the case of Mr Puigdemont ". The document states that Buch's appointment of Escolà was arbitrary and observes that "there is not the slightest educational aptitude" for him to act as an advisor. Nor does it appear, it adds, that he has done any advisory work.
The Spanish public prosecution service opened this investigation into the bodyguard and protection service provided to Puigdemont following a complaint lodged by several Catalan parliamentary deputies from the Ciudadanos party.
According to the prosecutors, Mossos sergeant Lluís Escolà, who was in charge of Puigdemont's security until the application of article 155, accompanied the president to Belgium in October 2017, where he watched over his safety. He initially asked for vacations and leave to do this job, until a police internal inquiry was opened on the matter. In the summer of 2018, he was accordingly penalised, and on the same day the minister created a position of a security adviser in the department which was filled by the sergeant a month later. According to the complaint, the sergeant continued to provide security services to Puigdemont.