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The years go by and more details about the strategies of the Spanish interior ministry under the government of Mariano Rajoy are gradually coming to light, completing the image of a dirty war carried out by the state against those it perceived as its political rivals: in this case - in the framework of the so-called Kitchen Case - those enemies are the Catalan independence movement and the alternative left of Unidas Podemos. The newspaper El País has published some of the WhatsApp messages that were exchanged between the number two at the Interior ministry, Francisco Martínez, secretary of state for Security; and the highest Spanish National Police chief, Eugenio Pino, between 2015 and 2019. The messages show how from the ministry, and in coordination with the police, investigations were promoted, many times without judicial approval, towards figures from Podemos and the independence movement.

Much of the information that Martínez and Pino conjecture about - that is, what they sought to investigate - ended up being false; however, several times information was leaked to the media and had a major impact on their political rivals. For example, on October 27th, 2015, the National Audience ordered the search of the homes and companies of the family of former Catalan president Jordi Pujol and at seven in the morning Martínez asks Pino: "Eugenio, you need to be on top of what is happening today to make a lot of noise... A lot of staging from the National Police." The number two at Interior wanted to make sure that the search of the Pujol family's homes would be great drama.

In addition, Martínez received information from Pino about the investigations into the independence movement carried out by the police. In March 2016, Pino reported on what the police had found in relation to the supposed accounts that Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya had in Switzerland. Martínez receives the information and asks about its reliability, to which the policeman responds, somewhat poetically: "When all is said and done, the wind blows it all away." And so it was: despite lots of damaging media coverage, in the end no solid evidence emerged of Convergència having Swiss bank accounts. 

The two also talked about Victòria Álvarez, former lover of the former president's son, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola. Álvarez was a police confidant, and in the conversation published by the newspaper, the two discussed problems that were emerging in this collaboration and the alleged funding of the investigation with the ministry's reserved funds.

Information against Xavier Trias

In another conversation between Martínez and Pino, the former specifically asks the police chief to take action involving an alleged piece of information against Xavier Trias, former mayor of Barcelona. "It would be very interesting to move this about squatters in Barcelona... especially the rent that Trias paid them when he was mayor. Who can send us a quick copy on this?" Martínez asks, to which Pino replies: "Don't worry, right now I'm on it (...). I've already been with the notary. He's going to report it at 7pm and we've offered him a sweep and a contact."

The investigation into the alleged rent and protection that Trias provided to squatters was shelved. Again, they were dealing with information that turned out to be false. A similar situation occurred when, in 2014, the Interior ministry leaked information on the supposed millionaire account of Xavier Trias, which turned out to be false.


Main image: The former deputy operational director (DAO) of the National Police, Eugenio Pino, appears at the Committee investigating the use of Interior ministry resources to favour the PP and annul evidence in cases of corruption, on 13th May 2021. Photo: Europa Press