Montoro's second in-command admits that there is no evidence for misuse of public funds for the 1-O referendumWhen questioned by the prosecution, Felipe Martínez Rico suggested that the Catalan government may have "dodged" the Ministry of Finance's controls
Josep Maria Camps
Felipe Martínez Rico, the former under-secretary of Finance of Cristóbal Montoro, in the Supreme Court on Tuesday
The sixth week of the trial of the leaders of the pro-independence movement who stand accused of rebellion resumed on Tuesday with the statement of Felipe Martínez Rico, the under-secretary of Finance under Cristóbal Montoro. The State Attorney General's Office had requested his testimony in order to prove that there was misuse of public funds for the 1-O referendum.
Prosecutor Consuelo Madrigal interrogated Martínez on the control carried out by the Ministry of Finances on the accounts of the Catalan government. The witness explained that, in November 2015, shortly after the 9-N declaration in the Parliament, additional control measures were established because, according to him, there were "financial reasons" to do so.
The additional measures of the Ministry of Finance
These measures included direct payment to the creditors of the Catalan government and verifying that the use of State funds prioritised public services.
A third measure was requiring a monthly certificate highly detailed information on spending. This requirement became weekly in July 2017.
According to Martínez, the ministry changed it because they had detected a heading that violated a Constitutional Court ruling against the referendum
Prosecutor Consuelo Madrigal, interrogating Felipe Martínez in the Supreme Court on Tuesday
"Illegal contracting would go under the radar"
Madrigal asked Martínez if the Catalan government could have "dodged" all of these controls, and the witness ultimately said yes, it could have:
Martínez Rico: "These certificates only go so far and have a number of limitations due to the fact that they focus on financial and budgetary monitoring activities. The actual reality is much more complex, and the certificates were exclusively limited to budgetary financial concerns."
Madrigal: "In other words: illegal contracting could have dodged the controls imposed by these measures."
Martínez Rico: "Illegal contracting, contracting that runs contrary to the public sector contracting law, is illegal regardless of certificates. It is illegal and would go under the radar."
- Catalan independence trial