The ex-directors of the Palau Música-Orfeó Català, Fèlix Millet and Jordi Montull, have been sent to prison without bail for their part in the ongoing corruption case (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Both Millet and Montull spent last night at the Modelo prison in Barcelona following their detention at the request of Urban Crimes prosecutor, Antoni Pelegrin who filed a lawsuit last week and over the past months have been investigating the case. The pair have been detained on charges of peddling for political favours and misappropriation of funds committed whilst planning to build a luxury hotel near the headquarters of the Palau. Lawyers for both defendants vigorously defended their innocence and even claimed that the prosecution had mounted an 'artificial strategy' against them. Judge De Rosa Palacio based the decision to imprison the pair not only over the alleged existence of criminal offenses but also for the "risk of concealment, alteration or destruction of evidence from relevant sources." Adding that it was obvious "the ability of the defendants to influence" other possible defendants or witnesses. The judge reminded the court that that peddling for political favours was a crime that is defined by actions taken to influence an officer or figure of authority or "take advantage of any situation arising from a personal relationship directly or through third parties with the intention of achieving decisions which can generate an economic benefit to themselves". According to De Rosa Palacio, there are documents that reflect the intention of the accused to influence the conduct of officials so there would be no obstacles in the hotel project and the necessary planning amendments were be made as soon as possible.
Forty writers and intellectuals from all over the world are to meet today and tomorrow in Barcelona to discuss language rights and freedom of speech in a conference organised by the Catalan wing of PEN (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). During the opening session, the Canadian writer and philosopher John Ralston Saul and international president of the organisation is to warn about the return of populism and about the evident racist force returning. Saul, considered one of the most lucid voices of our time and dubbed a "prophet" by Time magazine has spoken how "the intellectual world can not escape it". The first decision undertaken was the unanimous adoption for a resolution that calls for the negotiations between the European Union and Tunisia to stop. This is based on the fact that the country approves a decree that prohibits Tunisians to criticise their country, punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years. Saul was quoted as saying "It would seriously undermine journalists and writers. We would be compared to spies". PEN currently has 140 branches around the world and brings together journalists and academics. The future goals of the organisation, which currently has 14,000 members, includes gaining more visibility and trying to attract a younger audience.
Santander and the BBVA are the two most creditworthy banks in Europe (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Under pressure from Washington and in anticipation of a forthcoming announcement of the Bank of Spain's solvency test results of banks, the European Union agreed yesterday to a step that a year ago they refused to give. The move is set to reveal test results from 25 major financial institutions. Herman van Romuy, president of the European Council announced the move at the current European summit and revealed that the results will be published in the second half of July. Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said that there is "Nothing like transparency to demonstrate solvency, build confidence and overcome baseless rumour". It remains unclear the level of detail to be published. Recently US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner put pressure on the European governments to increase transparency. Whilst France's support of the move was also instrumental in forcing the EU to make a decision. Miguel Martin, president of the Spanish Banking Association (AEB) said yesterday "The pressure is more commercial than anything else, but it is clear that this is a temporary and transitional situation and it is very difficult to bear".
Also in the news: Penélope Cruz is be honoured with a star on the famous Hollywood walk of fame (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). El Prat airport has postponed all work on Terminal 2 until 2012 (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).