Scandal: Spanish State withdrew millions of euros to force withdrawl of companies from Catalonia

Catalan MonitorAra, Articles, Vilaweb

Photo: La Caixa bank buildings (Credit: Vilaweb)

By Vilaweb staff writers
From 5th October, 2018

Spain withdrew billions of euros on October 2nd 2018, the day after the referendum, from CaixaBank and Banc Sabadell, to force them to move their headquarters outside of Catalonia. According to the newspaper Ara, senior executives of both banks confirm that between Renfe, Adif, the State Ports and RTVE, among other public companies, they withdrew 2 billion euros from Sabadell, the day after 1-O [Spanish numeronym for October 1st 2018].

This, the Catalan government argues, caused a snowball effect. Explanations have been requested, in order to confirm that orders for these massive deposit withdrawals came from politicians on the Spanish side, which are being seen as a coordinated action from the Moncloa Palace to blackmail Catalan banks, but also send a warning shot across the bows of the Generalitat. A few days later, both banks moved their headquarters outside of Catalonia, into Spain proper.

The deposits lost for Sabadell around that time add up to around €12bn, while those of CaixaBank could be double, at €24 billion. Of the total, a third of these withdrawals were instigated by Spanish state companies. This resulted in a hit to the shares of both banks and panic among domestic level customers, and could have caused serious consequences for the viability of both banks.

The flight of capital caused by Spain, together with the decree put in place to facilitate rapid transfers of administrative headquarters, was used as a way to pile the pressure on the Catalan government, and blackmail these Catalan banks to attempt to head off the declaration of independence and seed fear in the population. In addition, shortly before 1-O, former Spanish economy minister Luis De Guindos warned that there would be a flight of capital, an argument which is often parroted in unionist rhetoric.

The government will ask for explanations
The president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, has advanced that he will ask for explanations after hearing about the withdrawals.

“A very serious scandal (again). The state used all the means at its disposal to abolish a just, peaceful and democratic cause. Even destabilizing the economy!” Torra said in a tweet on social media.

Along the same lines, Vice President and Minister of Economy Pere Aragonès said, on twitter, that the Catalan government will “continue investigating until we find out who and how it was decided to risk a potential financial crisis, to preserve the unity of Spain”.

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