Catalonian nationalist politicians wallow in a week of court accusations and scandals

Francesc Homs testified this week over the last illegal referendum.
Francesc Homs testified this week over the last illegal referendum. / EFE
  • While the CDC party is in the spotlight in a political favours and bribery case, other past and current pro-independence leaders are facing bans from office

In intense activity in Spain's courts, different ongoing legal cases against parts of the Catalonian pro-independence political establishment have been dominating headlines this week.

In Madrid, the Supreme Court hearing is finishing into the illegal organisation of an independence referendum in Catalonia in November 2014. The Catalonian regional assembly, known as the 'Parlament', had organised a non-binding vote, against constitutional rules.

The prosecution is asking for the former minister in charge of the Catalonian cabinet office, Francesc Homs, to be banned from office for nine years for "failing in his duty to stop the referendum".

Testifying on Monday, Homs said, "I admit everything I am accused of... but I have committed no crime". He claims that, as 40,000 volunteers were involved in the vote, it wasn't a referendum, but rather a "participative process". Other local politicians, including Artur Mas, who was regional president at the time, have also been on trial in a Barcelona court on the same matter.

'Caso Palau' starts

In Barcelona, the trial has opened into alleged corruption at the city's Palau de la Música concert hall, which was supposedly used as a conduit for corrupt commissions paid on public contracts to fund the nationalist CDC party.

In the dock at the so-called 'Caso Palau' case are Félix Millet, former head, and his right-hand man, Jordi Montull, who together face a possible 27-year sentence for corruption and diversion of 30 million euros. Former Catalonian leader Jordi Pujol, himself still involved in another long-running tax fraud trial, has been linked to the case.

'Parlament' president accused

Meanwhile the Catalonian high court has started more proceedings against regional-parliamentary- speaker Carme Forcadell, and another three members, for having allowed the 'Parlament' to approve a route map towards an independence vote for the region in September this year. This route map has been struck down by the Constitutional Court. Forcadell and her colleagues face being banned from office.

Nationalist politicians have claimed that all these legal actions have been designed to derail the Catalonian independence process. Speaking on Wednesday about the referenda, past and future, Fransecs Homs said, "If putting out voting boxes challenges the [Spanish] state, I don't want to be part of this state." The Spanish government has committed to listening to nationalist politicians' grievances but does not support an independence referendum in Catalonia.