The judge files the investigation for the espionage of Torrent and Maragall with Pegasus

The Barcelona court, which has been investigating for two years the case of espionage with the Pegasus program on the former president of the Parliament and current Minister of Business, Roger Torrent, and the leader of the ERC in Barcelona, ​​Ernest Maragall, has archived the investigation.

The dismissal of the case is provisional and will only be reopened if Israel responds to the information required by the judge about the espionage a year and a half ago and which remains unanswered.

As reported to Efe by judicial sources, Torrent and Maragall’s lawyer has appealed the provisional dismissal of the case. The head of the Investigating Court number 32 in Barcelona sent rogatory commissions to Israel and Ireland in 2020 to follow the trail of espionage and earlier this month, when the scandal had broken out over the attacks with Pegasus on more than 60 independence supporters, he reactivated the investigation and asked Maragall and Torrent to provide their mobiles in order to analyze them with expert evidence.

However, none of them has handed over the phones allegedly attacked with Pegasus to the court, since It was the terminals they used during their time in Parliament and they no longer have them.

While the trickle of complaints continues in the courts of Barcelona for massive espionage with Pegasus -some of which have ended up in the hands of instruction 32-, the magistrate has agreed to dismiss the case waiting for new evidence that allow to determine responsibilities for the espionage.

The defense of Torrent and Maragall criticizes the judge

In his appeal, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Andreu Van Den Eynde, asks the judge to keep the investigation open and criticizes him for has kept the investigation “materially paralyzed” for more than a year, without decreeing the dismissal, but agreeing to extensions of the investigation.

For the lawyer, instead of provisionally shelving the case, the judge should “imprint agility on the investigation through the legally established means”, agreeing in his case the extensions that are necessary.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Andreu Van Den Eynde, reproaches the judge for having kept the investigation “materially paralyzed”

In his brief, the lawyer also argues that the case is not only pending rogatory commissions, but that there are “new factors of interest” for the investigation, specifically “much more evidence of massive political espionage” as a result of the CitizenLab lab report.

The investigating court number 32 of Barcelona took up the case by admitting the complaint filed by Torrent and Maragall on July 30, 2020. Both filed a complaint against the former director of the National Intelligence Center (CNI) Félix Roldán and the Israeli company NSO Group for the alleged interception of communications and “computer espionage”.

Two years later, the court closes the investigation without being able to respond to the demands of the politicians. And that the former director of the CNI, Paz Esteban, admitted espionage to Maragall in Congress a few weeks ago.

The ERC leaders pointed to “political espionage linked to state intelligence services”, given, they reasoned, that “there are no elements to think that NSO would serve its products to agencies other than intelligence or police.”

Spied between April and May 2019

The alleged computer attacks on the phones of Torrent, Maragall and former CUP deputy Anna Gabriel They were carried out through the Pegasus program, a system that is only available to police and state government intelligence systems.

This spyware, developed by NSO and only sold to governments, Security Forces and Bodies, attacked Maragall’s mobile phone in 2019 using a WhatsApp security flaw that opened the door to its installation on the Torrent phone and 1,400 mobile phones in the world.

The reported events occurred between April 29 and May 10, 2019, dates prior to the municipal elections

The reported events occurred between April 29 and May 10, 2019, dates prior to the municipal elections, in which Maragall ran as the ERC candidate for mayor of Barcelona. According to the lawsuit, Torrent and Maragall participated at that time in party meetings to prepare the electoral campaign, meetings in the field of parliamentary activity and had contacts with entities of various kinds, as well as conversations with journalists.

The CNI does not verify espionage in Pilar Llop’s mobile

This same Monday, the Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop, reported that the National Intelligence Center had informed her that your mobile phone has not been infected by the Pegasus espionage program.

“They have not told me that I had any infection on my mobile phone and they returned it to me the next day,” said the minister.

She has also been asked about information regarding the suspicion in the Supreme Court and among the judges regarding the possibility that the reform of the law of official secrets give them more responsibilities and tasks to analyze in which cases to authorize eavesdropping.

“Work is being done on a law that the President of the Government himself announced in the appearance he made last week in the Congress of Deputies to explain what had happened with the Pegasus case”, in reference to the espionage suffered by members of the Government and by independence leaders.


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