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Public prosecutors in Barcelona have this Tuesday ordered the opening of an investigation into the complaint presented yesterday by Catalan MP Gabriel Rufián, of the pro-independence ERC party, after an audio recording of a conversation he had taken part in had been leaked to the media, apparently from police sources. The conversation was one of the recordings that Spanish Civil Guard officers had acquired in the context of Operation Volhov, the operation currently underway which has targeted over 20 Catalan pro-independence politicians and activists for a variety of alleged offences.

Rufián alleged that his fundamental right to privacy had been violated, as the leaked conversation has nothing to do with the investigation of the case. The complaint also argues that the publication of the conversation aimed at nothing more than "discredit" and "political warfare."

For this reason, Rufián asked the prosecution service to take appropriate measures to prevent the publication of any new recording of his "private conversations" included in the investigation.

Specifically, the conversation denounced by the ERC parliamentary leader is the result of police surveillance on former Catalan minister and businessperson Xavier Vendrell, who is under investigation in Operation Volhov for various alleged offences, some of them linked to corruption.

Oriol Soler Xavier Vendrell  llibertat Ciutat Justícia EFE

Xavier Vendrell (right), with Oriol Soler, another of those investigated in Operation Volhov / Photo: Efe

In the audio that led to the complaint, Rufián, Vendrell and two other people linked to ERC analyze the party's political situation and question the suitability of current acting Catalan president Pere Aragonès leading the ERC candidacy in the upcoming elections.

Accusation against the Civil Guard

In his complaint, Rufián directly accuses the heads of the Spanish Civil Guard's judicial police units of having leaked the conversation to the media, as he understands that only these police commands had access to it, and he therefore asks prosecutors to look into whether this may be an offence against his fundamental rights.

ERC spokesperson Marta Vilalta said at a press conference yesterday that Rufián's complaint is just the beginning of "a political and judicial offensive" that the party's leadership has decided to take against "political espionage being carried out against the independence movement by the deep state".

This offensive, explained the party, also includes, a series of 140 parliamentary questions registered in the Congress of Deputies "which the Spanish government has the obligation to answer," said MP Marta Rosique.

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