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Ex-Catalonian President fled Spain using Bitcoin

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

The Spanish police unit investigating the alleged misappropriation of public funds by former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is said to have discovered evidence that the former Catalan leader financed his flight to Belgium using bitcoins (BTC).

Puigdemont currently resides in Belgium, where he is fighting for the release of Catalan leader Oriol Junqueras, who was imprisoned and banned from becoming a member of the European Parliament earlier this year.

But according to ABC and the news agency EFE (via La Vanguardia), the Spanish judicial investigation into Puigdemont’s alleged embezzlement of funds in his attempt to escape government prosecution involved a transfer made at the end of 2017 to an entity [probably a crypto exchange] that allows the exchange of bitcoins in euros.

The police report credits a computer scientist by the name of Jaume CabanĂ­, now a resident of Puigdemont’s residence, known as the House of the Republic, with orchestrating the operation. CabanĂ­ settled in 2018 in the 550 m2 mansion in Waterloo, in the Belgian region of Walloon Brabant.

The report states that the money to finance Puigdemont’s flight and relocation to Waterloo was taken from public funds and was sent to a crypto platform (it is not known which one), which processed an invoice of 10,559 euros (with a current value of $12,360) issued by CabanĂ­ in August 2017.

Puigdemont created a very problematic crisis in Madrid after holding a referendum on Catalonia’s independence in October of the same year.

The Spanish government then brought charges of rebellion, sedition, and embezzlement of public funds against Puigdemont, also in October – just before the former Catalan leader fled to Belgium under pressure from the Spanish justice system.

Puigdemont claims that the country’s police force, the Guardia Civil, was planning to create an encrypted “digital republic” and was willing to use its access to public resources to help finance its plan.