Nevertheless, The New York Times insists that in the spring of 2019, a representative of one of the leaders of the Catalan separatists went to Moscow for political help. The independence movement for Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region in northeastern Spain, was largely broken after a referendum on secession from Spain two years earlier. The European Union and the United States, which supported the Spanish authorities 'efforts to preserve the country's integrity, rejected the separatists' requests for help. But in Russia, the separatists have found an open door.
The fact is that in recent days, many publications published in Spain are literally full of headlines about Puigdemont, allegedly acting "at the behest of the Kremlin".
According to the BBC, a statement on behalf of Puigdemont's office asserts that all of these publications are part of the campaign that the Spanish central authorities are waging against supporters of Catalan independence.
The New York Times and international journalism Center for Investigation of Organized Crime and Corruption recently published descriptions of the same document that fell into their hands - a report by the Spanish police on the contents of the phone of Puigdemont's chief of staff Josep Lewis Alay.
From Alai's correspondence, as stated by the police, it follows that in 2019-2020 he was in contact with people who are either officially employees of the Russian special services, or are suspected of having connections with them, and also recommended Carles Puigdemont not to publicly support Alexei Navalny and the Belarusian opposition, so as not to irritate Moscow.
"The only purpose of the 'leak' is to criminalize and discredit the Catalan independence movement in the eyes of the world community, portraying it as a destabilizing force," the statement said.
The report of the Civil Guard, a part of the Spanish police, released to the press, appeared during the investigation of the case of alleged embezzlement and abuse, which was initiated in 2016 in Barcelona against the leaders of the Catalan autonomy.
In October 2020, Josep Lewis Alai and 20 others were temporarily arrested, and Alai's phone fell into the hands of investigators.
However, it is not clear from the police report whether the Kremlin helped the Catalan separatists, and if so, to what extent. Nevertheless, but very soon after Alai's trips to Moscow in 2019, a secret protest group "Democratic Tsunami" appeared in Barcelona, which seized the Barcelona airport and blocked the main highway connecting Spain with northern Europe, "the American newspaper writes. According to the Spanish police, Puigdemont and Alay were involved in the creation of this group.