3 de septiembre de 2021
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Puigdemont’s entourage maintained contacts with Russia to obtain its support for the process. The information was published yesterday in The New York Times which, according to the American newspaper, places Catalan independence as one of the political movements that Russia would have used to destabilize Europe.
The information comes from a report of the Civil Guard to which La Vanguardia has also accessed, sent in the framework of the Volhov operation that tries to reconstruct the approach of Carles Puigdemont and, specifically by his right hand Josep Lluís Alay, to the Kremlin.
‘The New York Times’ believes Putin used independence to destabilize Western EuropeThe document reveals meetings and messages exchanged by Alay – director of the Office of Puigdemont – with people linked to the Russian government – something that is not going to be well received in the European security services – although without detailing what these contacts resulted in.
From the conversations it is clear that Alay is particularly careful that Puigdemont, in his capacity as an MEP, avoids public speeches that could make the Russians uncomfortable and damage their good relations.
Alay’s contacts are part, according to the international headline, of Putin’s cohort involved in the underground war against the West and who would have used Catalan independence as an element of destabilization, comparable to the Italian Northern League or extreme right-wing parties in the United Kingdom and Spain.
The Guardia Civil’s 155-page report interprets Alay’s messages but without specifying what indications of crime it perceives in his actions. The messages were found on his mobile phone when he was arrested in October 2020.
Alay’s main contact is Alexander Dmitrenko, a Russian businessman who lives in Sant Cugat and was appointed ambassador to the Chamber of Commerce during Joan Canadell’s previous term in office. The Ministry of the Interior denied Spanish nationality to Dmitrenko in 2016. A CNI report linked him to Russian intelligence services.
From the telephone conversations it is clear the will not to discomfort the Russians in Puigdemont’s appearances.Alay was confident that Dmitrenko – who yesterday said he felt the victim of “paranoid conspiracies” – would open doors for them in Moscow and on important energy issues, according to Gonzalo Boye, Puigdemont’s lawyer, who, in these communications, is aware of his relations with the Russians.
From the conversations it is clear the will not to discomfort the Russians in Puigdemont’s public appearances. So they allude to a letter signed by the former president along with 23 other MEPs addressed to Donald Trump in which they demanded a pardon for Edward Snowden, exiled in Moscow after leaking confidential documents, and believed that it could harm them in their relationship with the Russians. In fact, they stressed the need for Puigdemont not to comment on Navalny, the imprisoned opposition activist.
“At any moment a tweet from the president in favor of Navalny appears and that kills us,” says Alay. Puigdemont also seconded a protest against Belarus to which Boye said: “We will tell the Russians that this is to mislead them. We have to build a story about this for friends,” referring to the Russians.
Another of the contacts cited in the intercepted messages is Evgeni Primakov, Putin’s right-hand man for international relations. “He has more power than the foreign ministry,” Alay stressed. When they were preparing an interview with a Russian media Boye recommends that Puigdemont talk about “the challenges of the EU” but not to get “into what fucks the Russians”.
In this context, Judge Aguirre ordered an investigation into a commercial operation of oil sales between Russia and China in which Dmitrenko participated that seemed suspicious. But the Prosecutor’s Office reproached him that the whole investigation on Alay is prospective and lacks motivation. Puigdemont said the report is “full of falsehoods”.