Photo: Diplocat HQ on the Diagonal Avenue in Barcelona (Credit: Marc Rovira)
By Marc Toro, Ara
From April 12th, 2018
A new operation by the Civil Guard, on the orders of court of instruction number 13 of Barcelona, investigating the preparations of the 1st of October referendum, was launched. About ten people from the national corps entered Diplocat’s (Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia) headquarters yesterday, at the Casa de les Punxes in Barcelona, and remained in the premises for almost five hours with one objective: to collect evidence which showed supposed payments by the Generalitat – dissolved by the Spanish government with article 155 – to the international observers who were in Catalonia the day of the referendum. A report by the armed corps puts the amount of public funds spent on the referendum at 1.6 million euros, and claims that 119,700 euros had been allocated to the displacement and accommodation of observers.
Diplocat will be dissolved definitively today with the dismissal of the last remaining workers of the organization, fifteen of whom were present yesterday at the headquarters during the raid. The operation started in the morning and ended at about two thirty in the afternoon, when the agents came out with several bags and at least two computers. Sources close to the investigation confirmed to various agencies that they mainly checked account information, and the former head of press for Diplocat, Martí Estruch, told journalists outside the headquarters that they checked computers and cell phones during the search.
An “act of propaganda”
“The information they claimed to be looking for, they obviously already have. This is a propaganda stunt to make public that the government of Spain has managed to close Diplocat,”complained Estruch. Since the application of 155, in fact, the Spanish government has had access to all the materials and data of the organization. Mariano Rajoy’s executive dissolved Diplocat on October 27th, when its Secretary General Albert Royo was also dismissed. The decision was appealed by the Catalan Association of Municipalities and the City Council of Barcelona, but the Supreme Court overturned the appeal. The Council of Ministers extended the powers of the body liquidating Catalan agencies, and today, the organization responsible for promoting Catalonia abroad will be eliminated completely today.
Original Link: https://www.ara.cat/politica/Guardia-Civil-escorcolla-del-Diplocat_0_1995400566.html