The debate on the guarantees was split in two by the ICF governing board

BarcelonaThe words of the Minister of Economy, Jaume Giró, this Wednesday in parliament announcing that it would be the Catalan Institute of Finance that would endorse those investigated by the foreign activity of the Generalitat were only the first chapter of a very long day. Only 24 hours earlier it had been ruled out that it was this public body that did it, but the tug-of-war between Esquerra and Junts turned the decision upside down. To carry it out, informal meetings of government officials and contacts with the ICF took place throughout Wednesday to try to make the decision to take the step before the court effective within the deadline. Any operation of the Institute had to be endorsed by the governing board, so it had to be convened correctly so that it was early in the afternoon. It started at a quarter to six and didn’t end until almost nine in the evening. As ARA has been able to reconstruct from various sources, the debate was very hard and the board ended up splitting in two when it came to voting on the endorsements. Three of the members gave the green light, another three voted against, the CEO, Víctor Guardiola, abstained and in order to move forward it was necessary to have the quality vote of the chairman of the board, Albert Castellanos. All this radiographs the reluctance of the Institute to act as a public guarantor.

But who is on the governing board? Where do its members come from? It is officially made up of nine people from the world of economics and representatives of the administration, and are appointed at the proposal of the Minister of Economy. It is the case that the current leadership was appointed by the current president, Pere Aragonès, when he was vice-president of the government and Minister of Economy, and that it had to be renewed in the coming days. This situation added tension: knowing that they had little time left in office, board members had to get wet and risk possible responsibilities if all this ended up being challenged in court. There are named members dominicals –Representatives of the administration– and independents –from the financial world–. The positions of political importance, apart from Castellanos (now Secretary of Business in the ministry of Roger Torrent), were Meritxell Masó, Secretary General of Health with Josep M. Argimon; Matilde Villarroya, current Secretary of Economic Affairs and European Funds with Jaume Giró, and Lluís Juncà, Director General of Innovation with Torrent. The first three voted in favor of granting the endorsement and Juncà was not present at the meeting. In order for the vote to be valid, there had to be more independent members than political appointments, and it was decided to exclude Juncà, claiming that he was the lowest-ranking member – a movement that also led to discussion. The three votes against came from independent members of the Institute. Resignations are expected in the coming days.

In turn, the CEO of the institution, Victor Guardiola, decided to abstain. Guardiola was appointed to the post just four months ago, replacing Josep-Ramon Sanromà. Coming from the private sector, Guardiola spent much of his career at CaixaBank, in addition to having experience in the world of consulting.

Signing of independents

From the time of Artur Mas as president until the previous legislature with Pere Aragonès as Minister of Economy, the Government had reduced the weight of Sunday councilors on the ICF governing board to give more presence to the independent directors. The aim was in response to the Generalitat’s repeated attempt to ensure that the ICF would one day have a bank card so that it could operate as a bank and have operational advantages. With the reduction of proprietary directors, the aim was to better stage the entity’s independence from political power in order to soften the Bank of Spain, which has the last word on the granting of the bank card and which has so far denied it. . At the time of the truth, however, with the bail operation the Government has had to resort to Sunday councilors because the independents did not see it clearly. The bank statement is more complicated.


Source: Ara.cat – Portada by www.ara.cat.

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