The justice system has closed the case opened against the former mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, two months before the elections, over the projects for new green axes of the “superilla” of the Eixample, following a complaint filed by the former chief architect of the City Council Josep Antoni Acebillo.
In a ruling, to which EFE has had access, the Court of Barcelona upholds the appeal presented by Colau and the former deputy mayor. Janet Sanz, also investigated, concluding that possible irregularities in the project approval process do not constitute a crime.
This is the third criminal investigation against Colau that the justice system has filed in recent months: last week a Barcelona judge shelved the complaint for coercion who presented her with an investment fund and, in October, another case opened against her due to the suspension of the City Council’s relations with Israel was settled.
The complaint, which in addition to Acebillo was signed by the lawyers Francesc Jufresa and Ferran Grasasaccused Colau of an urban planning crime, in addition to two others of fraud in subsidies and embezzlement for allocating public funds to the green axes project despite its irregularities.
The same plaintiffs They had filed a complaint in 2022 for the same urban development project before the Prosecutor’s Office, which filed it as it did not see evidence of a crime and, consequently, also opposed the court opening a criminal investigation against the former mayor for identical events.
Last September, a contentious court in Barcelona revoked the agreement of the City Council that approved the “superilla” considering that it had not been processed correctly, which Colau and Sanz took advantage of to request the filing of the criminal case opened with the argument that it dealt with the same issue.
The sixth section has now upheld his appeal and has agreed to provisionally file the case, concluding that criminal proceedings are only justified in the case of “more serious and, therefore, intentional” infractions, not in the “omission of procedures or procedural irregularities.”
“The continuation of criminal prosecution can hardly be justified when the ruling of the contentious-administrative court says that urban planning violations they do not have the required intensity“, emphasizes the ruling.
For the court, the crimes of subsidy fraud and embezzlement raised by the plaintiffs do not arise from the “violation” of urban planning regulations: “If there are doubts about the legality of the urban planning action, we can consider that the funds should not have been used in it, but in such a case they cannot simply be considered misappropriated.”
Ada Colau attended the municipal elections last May with four open criminal investigations, to which a fifth was added shortly after due to the suspension of relations of the Barcelona’s town hall with Israel.
Apart from the three filed, another case remains open resulting from a complaint by the Association for Transparency for the granting of subsidies to related entities – in which the Prosecutor’s Office has requested the file – and another presented by a real estate agency that also accuses her of coercing her with sanctions to prevent the eviction of a vulnerable tenant.
The latter was filed by the same lawyer who filed the complaint for coercion by the investor fund. Vauraswhich the judge filed last week in an order in which she reproached the complainants for trying to criminally involve the former mayor in search of a “media effect” for disagreeing with her housing policies.