Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont has asked pro-independence supporters to donate money after Spanish authorities ordered him and 19 others to pay back 4.1 million euros of public money spent on a banned independence referendum.
On Oct. 1, 2017, the region organised a secession vote declared illegal by Spanish courts.
Its leaders then made a short-lived declaration of independence. Puigdemont later fled to Belgium, while other top separatists were jailed.
Puigdemont, who is now a member of the European Parliament and still lives in exile in Belgium, said the public auditors’ office had given him and other separatist politicians 15 days to refund the money before their assets could be seized.
Puigdemont’s appeal for cash comes at a sensitive time, with Madrid and Barcelona planning talks on Catalonia’s future on Febraury 6th.
Earlier yesterday, six jailed separatist leaders were briefly released from prison under heavy police protection to testify at a hearing in the Catalan parliament.