Politics and justice have different speeds. Sometimes you shoot. The first, through investigative commissions in Congress, has ratified twice since 2017 that during Jorge Fernández Díaz’s stage a parapolice group known as political police The patriotic brigade in order to “obstruct the investigation of the corruption scandals that affected the PP” and “the persecution of political opponents.” The last, this Wednesday, with the opinion of the Operation Kitchen commission, the illegal espionage of former treasurer Luis Bárcenas, which is still pending a vote by the plenary session of the Lower House.
On the contrary, in these four years the courts have not issued any final judgment in which the existence of this group is considered proven. In fact, several of the allegedly irregular operations of which their members are accused are not even investigated and the only time that two alleged members of the plot sat on the bench, they were acquitted. It happened in July 2020. Commissioner Eugenio Pino, former head of the National Police and alleged police officer political police, was tried together with one of his trusted men, Chief Inspector Bonifacio Díez Sevillano, at the Provincial Court of Madrid accused of a crime of discovery of secrets for the alleged attempt to incorporate the Pujol case, in which the alleged irregular enrichment of the family of the former president of the Generalitat Jordi Pujol, a pendrive with documents of illicit origin, is investigated. One of the personal accusations requested 10 years in prison for each of them, although the Prosecutor’s Office requested acquittal.
Ultimately, both were acquitted, although the ruling is not yet final. Jordi Pujol Ferrusola, the eldest son of the former president of the Generalitat and prosecution in the case, appealed the ruling before the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid, which has not yet ruled, according to legal sources. Despite the favorable sense of the sentence, the court reproached Commissioner Pino for conduct “far from a correct professional act” and affirmed that his “obscurantism” about the origin of the information contained in that memory device “put seriously risk ”the investigation into the Pujol clan that was being carried out in the National Court.
This high police command is now close to the bench for another action in this plot, Operation Kitchen, the alleged illegal espionage of former treasurer Luis Bárcenas. Last July, the judge of the National Court Manuel García-Castellón issued an order in which he put an end to the investigation and proposed to try 11 people, including former Minister Fernández Díaz, his former number two, Francisco Martínez, and nine policemen, including Pino. In that resolution —which has been appealed by accusations and defenses—, the magistrate concluded that the plot acted as of the summer of 2013 with the idea of “accessing documentation and information in the possession of Bárcenas to divert it” and that it did not reach the then judge of the National Court Pablo Ruz, instructor of the Gürtel case.
Still in the investigation phase, in this case in a court in Andorra, another of the alleged actions of patriotic politics is found. In this case, the so-called Operation Catalonia, the information intoxication campaign supposedly gestated from 2012 within the Interior to discredit the leaders of the Catalan independence movement through alleged police reports with serious accusations of corruption. It is about the alleged coercion and extortion of Higini Cierco, the majority shareholder along with his brother Ramón from the Andorran Private Banking (BPA), and another manager of this entity to provide information on the bank accounts that Catalan nationalist leaders may have with the threat of the closure of both the bank and its Spanish subsidiary, Banco Madrid, something that finally occurred. In this case, which contains recordings with the threats, four alleged members of the political police, including Commissioner Pino, as well as Mariano Rajoy and former ministers Fernández Díaz and Cristóbal Montoro, among others.
Less luck in the courts have had other actions of Operation Catalonia. The Supreme Court rejected the complaint that, in September 2016, was filed by the former mayor of Barcelona Xavier Trías against former minister Fernández Díaz and the former head of the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia Daniel de Alfonso after the dissemination of conversations between the two – recorded by agents of the patriotic police– in which they spoke of leaking information from nationalist leaders to the media. The high court refused to investigate it because it considered it impossible to determine whether the audios were tampered with.
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Attempts to investigate Operation Catalonia in the macrosummary of the Tandem case, in which both Operation Kitchen and the allegedly illegal activities of Commissioner José Manuel Villarejo to enrich himself are investigated. Both the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office and the investigating judge, Manuel García-Castellón, consider that these activities are not criminal. And this despite the fact that, when Villarejo was arrested in November 2017, at least six reports on this operation were located at his home, one of them on the former president of the Generalitat Artur Mas, of which an apocryphal report was released. . In this summary, Jordi Pujol Ferrusola has tried to appear as the prosecution after learning that the commissioner had members of the family clan among his objectives. The judge rejected it on the grounds that the Pujols were a target of police interest and there is no evidence that illegal means were used, according to legal sources.
García-Castellón has not admitted investigating within the Tandem case the so-called Pisa Report (acronym for Pablo Iglesias SA), an anonymous police document on the finances of Podemos that came to light in 2016 and whose content was endorsed by Interior as a work of the Deputy Directorate of Operations (DAO), which precisely headed Commissioner Pino. The report, which the Police tried to prosecute, but which the courts rejected outright, was allegedly written by another member of the plot, Commissioner Andrés Gómez Gordo, a former advisor to María Dolores de Cospedal when she was president of the Junta de Castilla-La Stain.
Retired or separated from the service, but decorated
The Kitchen commission’s opinion cites nine police officers as alleged members of the parapolice group that spied on Luis Bárcenas. Six of them are retired. These are the commissioners Eugenio Pino, José Manuel Villarejo, José Luis Olivera, Enrique García Castaño and Marcelino Martín Blas, and the chief inspector Bonifacio Díez Sevillano. The other three are still active police officers, although currently none have police functions, according to Interior Ministry sources. Chief Inspector José Ángel Fuentes Gago, who after being charged by the caso Kitchen He was transferred to a bureaucratic post in the Higher Police Headquarters of Madrid, he has been released by the Professional Police Union (SPP, majority in the command scale), of which he had been president, to take charge of his legal cabinet. Commissioner Andrés Gómez Gordo obtained in 2019, when he was already charged, the head of a Madrid police station. Currently, he is suspended from employment and salary. In the same situation is the basic scale agent Sergio Ríos, Bárcenas’ ex-driver who collaborated with the plot. All, except the latter, were decorated by the then Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, with medals that were accompanied by an economic reward for life. The Francoist law that even today regulates its concession does not contemplate its withdrawal.