Read in Catalan

Spanish police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo boasted of manipulating election results. He did this in the conversations he recorded, but he also recorded it in writing in the information memos he sent to the interior ministry led by People's Party (PP) politician Jorge Fernández Díaz, to which has had access. In fact, the commissioner takes great care to note that his superiors not only knew about his interference activities, but were the ones who had ordered them. Among other actions, in the memos Villarejo refers to actions during the campaign for the Galician elections of October 21st, 2012 and the Catalan elections on November 25th of the same year.

In the case of the Galician elections, Villarejo appears to have directed his action against the candidacy of Mario Conde. The ex-banker, who had already served four years in prison for the Banesto case, contested those elections at the head of the Civil Society and Democracy party. This was a candidacy aimed at liberal and conservative voters, which represented a threat to the PP's Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who headed the PP list for the second time and needed to guarantee an absolute majority in order to return his party to the government of the Galician autonomous community in Spain's north-west corner.

Villarejo's action with regard to the candidate Mario Conde are recorded in his diary. On September 17th, 2012, he noted that a journalist told him that "he has a report against Mario Conde over the money he has in Luxembourg" and that "he thinks that Fiti [commissioner Manuel Vázquez] has it well armed." On the same day, he spoke on the phone with Francisco Martínez, then chief of staff to minister Jorge Fernández Díaz. On these dates, more entries appear in the agenda about the former banker, which make it clear that he addressed the issue with, among others, Juan Cotino, who was director general of the Spanish National Police.

On October 9th, with the electoral campaign already underway, Interviu magazine published a cover story on Mario Conde under the title "The National Audience Court uncovers Mario Conde's tax haven and seizes four properties in Mallorca", reporting on the seizure of five properties of the ex-banker to carry out a court judgment from the year 2000.

The next day, October 10th, Villarejo includes a new entry in his agenda on this topic. He assures that PIN [Eugenio Pino, deputy operational director of the Police] was "very happy with the M. Conde result and response".

Captura agenda Villarejo
Detail of commissioner Villarejo's diary

In that election Mario Conde obtained only 15,990 votes, 1.1% of the votes cast in Galicia. For his part, Feijóo not only repeated his absolute majority but, with 45.79% of the votes, managed to add three more seats.

Two years later, in August 2014, in a conversation with the then undersecretary for security, Francisco Martínez, Villarejo bluntly took credit for the action against the ex-banker in that election. "I was tasked, I don't remember if it was you or Cospe [María Dolores de Cospedal, general secretary of the PP] or Eugenio himself [Pino, deputy operational director of the Police], to give Mario Conde a beating. Do you remember ? In the previous elections in Galicia," he explains while Martínez first answers yes, but then tries to distance himself. Villarejo affirms that he got the Interviu report produced "that fucked up everything" - "that he had a property and I don't know what...", he details - for which he is congratulated; and he quotes the task he was given at the time: "Oye, que me ha dicho el número 1 [Mariano Rajoy] que leña en el mono" ("Listen, what the number 1 [Mariano Rajoy] said to me was give him a thrashing.") "Maybe I went a little too far," he concludes.

The formal record of this commission came a year later and the wording is rather more subtle. It was in a memo of March 20th, 2015, in which the commissioner makes a detailed review of the actions taken in the investigation against the Madrid PP leader Ignacio González [IG] for his penthouse in Marbella. On Page 4, Villarejo explains that in 2012, he had to forget about the IG penthouse issue in order to devote himself to new "tasks" assigned to him, including the "management of irregular activities relating to Mario Conde during the autonomous elections in Galicia".

The same memos also notes, among the new tasks assigned to him in 2012, those referring to "independence movements of the Pujols and a certain sector of CiU, and contacts with the Banca d'Andorra to cover up criminal conduct".


📝 Spain's anti-laundering authority gave false information to Liechtenstein over the Pujols and Mas

Catalan parliamentary elections

Villarejo's intervention in the Catalan elections, with the publication in El Mundo of the faked draft report from the corruption unit UDEF on alleged accounts of Jordi Pujol and Artur Mas in Switzerland nine days before the elections of November 25th, 2012, is documented in his agenda and in different audios, as has already explained in detail in this series of articles from ElNacional. In addition, this action is also reviewed in one of the menos he sent to the ministry, dated December 29th, 2012. In this text, the commissioner explains that he received "orders to act" in what he describes as "Activities in Catalonia (AEC)" through holding "crisis meetings after learning about CiU's plans and especially the circle of maximum trust of the Pujol clan". Villarejo makes it clear that his notes include information already communicated to "superior" power and that it "considered it of interest regarding the assigned intelligence work".

The former commissioner refers to the publication of the faked UDEF draft and the impact of this action in the middle of the electoral campaign. In addition, he takes the opportunity to remove his own responsibility for the falsity of the document by arguing that speed was prioritized and that the data "was moved to the Superior power for decision-making even though it was still in process."

Villarejo warns in the report that it is necessary to maintain and strengthen attention to Catalonia, where he foresees "an even more virulent response from the pro-independence parties" in response to the setback because of the fake report publication. He states ironically that the sovereignists did not foresee the negative result in the elections and did not hide their "anger", attributing the bad electoral result to the "sewers of the State", being convinced that the responsible for the leak of "the early-draft of the UDEF report" was the prime minister Mariano Rajoy himself.


"Aggressiveness resulting from of frustration at not having prevented the press campaign that could have led to the never-expected results; CiU dropped from 62 to 50 seats," he explains. According to Villarejo, this was not what the sovereignists expected after the success of the massive Diada of 2012, which the commissioner attributes to "the good handling that [independentism] had made of friendly media". "From this point to feeling beaten by the same propaganda techniques advocated by their strategists, they never expected it," says Villarejo in reference to the impact of the UDEF draft.

The two notes, like the rest, were sent to the Minister of the Interior, and then bounced onwards to Mariano Rajoy, prime minister of Spain.

🔍 All of's investigation in English on the Operation Catalonia papers