Catalonia’s Citizen group against Corruption has managed to procure the approval of the appearance of the Catalan government as private prosecutor against Iñaki Urdangarín and Princess Cristina in the case of Palma Arena. More information:
We are taking action now, at the closing of the hearing, because the Judge’s arguments recorded in the trial, as well as the subsequent actions of the Public Prosecutor, the Tax Agency and defence attorneys of Roca Junyent’s office – father of the Constitution and founder of CIU (Convergence and Union) -, have given reasons to believe we should act.
As responsible citizens, in no case do we wish to hinder or extend in time the proceedings with this action. At the time, from 15MpaRato we thought about XXX but decided not to in order not to slow down the process. Our intention is to act in support of Judge Castro’s work.
The so-called “Botín doctrine”, which the defence also calls upon as a last resort, was “invented” to ensure the impunity of the powerful. It’s not a triviality, the name that figures in the title. It was issued by the Supreme Court in December 2007, stating that “A trial cannot be opened solely in the instance of popular accusation, but rather it is necessary to be petitioned by the Public Prosecutor or the private prosecutor”, as the only legitimately injured parties.
And here we are, the citizens with injury, while in this case, once again the Public Prosecutor and the Tax Office in dereliction of duties, have shown that they are not in the business of defending the interests of the citizens.
We believe that the right to legal protection in a fiscal crime is not exclusive to a single administrative body. We believe that the Tax Agency holds no monopoly on the condition of offence or injury in crimes against the Treasury, as this undermines collective ownership, a responsibility of Civil Society as a whole, which is the true injured party. If this were not so, it would be as good as leaving the actual prosecution of this crime in the hands of political will to accuse or not, on the part of the current executive power, which not only controls the Public Prosecutor, but also the State Tax Agency itself, both of whom would just as easily withhold accusation in order to bring an end to the criminal proceedings. They’ve done it, and would like to continue to do it.
Certainly, the case in question is more blatant, because, as the Palma Provincial Court has noted, there are important differences between the “Botín” case and the “Borbón” case. In the latter, the Public Prosecution and the private prosecution choose to accuse Mr. Urdangarín, while showing no desire to hold accountable for the same crime the party considered by the judiciary to be a necessary accomplice, the Princess, in an absurd legal turn, which would lead to an easy defence by the accused: simply transfer the facts and culpability the one who has not been accused. We are not dealing with the Botín doctrine, but rather the proposal to create the Borbón doctrine.
But, we’d like to take it a step further. We, the Civil Society, would prefer to leave things without argument to what appears to be a legal discrepancy, when it’s much more than that. Again, Civil Society has to watch and intervene, in order to defend its interests, as the institutions that should be defending us are not. It is in this context that the Citizen Group Against Corruption in Catalonia has written, in an exercise of its right to petition, the following formal written request, which has been presented to the presidency of the Government of Catalonia, the Tax Agency of Catalonia, the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge (Conselleria d’Economia i Coneixement) and the National Tax Agency.
We also make the documents available for any citizen to present (click to download the pdf, in Spanish):
Why from Catalonia?
Given the conduct of the Public Prosecutor and the State Tax Agency, in this case, we believe there is a new opportunity to definitively prevent the justification of the Botín doctrine. In this text, we make clear why the Government and the Tax Agency of Catalonia should be present in-person, as injured parties, to defend the legitimate interests of the citizens they represent and serve.
As Catalonia is the place of residence of the accused, the Government has a direct interest in the proceeds of such tax collection agencies as the IRPF (Personal Income Tax), in which case we believe the Catalan Civil Society, in at least 50% of the defrauded dues, is directly harmed by the alleged crime against the Treasury, and as such should be defended by its representatives, clearing any hint of doubt concerning the possible application of the “Botín doctrine”. Thus we show in unquestionable terms that the condition of injury does not belong exclusively to the State Revenue Service. It is one thing for the Law of Financing of the Autonomous Communities to grant exclusivity in the application (management and inspection by the IRPF -taxes subject to the crime-), and quite another to say that the resources gained from that tax would pertain exclusively of the State. That not being the case, as 50% of the income tax collected by the IRPF belongs to the Autonomous Community where the taxpayer resides, in the instance of crimes in Article 305 of the Penal Code, it is clear that an additional victim exists: the Autonomous Community, which has also been defrauded.
We recently watched while a Government talked in volumes about defending the interests of the Catalan public. Now, we ask that that they do that, and demonstrate whether a hypothetical Catalan Revenue Service, of full rights and autonomy, would be on the side of justice or on the side of the privileged.
We demand that our representatives do their job, because we are all the custodians of the public treasury.