ZAGREB, February 22, 2020 – Catalan police are investigating Croatia’s honorary consul in Barcelona over possible money laundering for a local criminal gang, a source from Catalonia’s autonomous police told Hina on Friday.
Consul Juli Barcena San Jose is suspected of receiving money from drug sales and investing it in real estate and luxury cars, thus covering up the trail of the illegally gains.
Also under investigation are the honorary consuls of Albania and Mali, Jose Maria Calmet Iglesias and Jose Luis Lopez Fernandez, respectively. Both are suspected of the same crime.
Catalonia’s autonomous police Mossos d’Esquadra said on 18 September 2019 that they had arrested four members of a known family clan from Catalonia for money laundering and drug trafficking. An investigation uncovered their business ties to the consuls.
Three honorary consuls stationed in Barcelona are under investigation, the Catalan police said in a press release.
A police source told Hina today Croatia’s consul was under investigation while a diplomat said Croatia would request his dismissal for damaging Croatia’s reputation.
Neither Barcena San Jose nor the Croatian consulate in Barcelona have issued any statement.
Honorary consuls are usually not nationals of the state they represent but citizens of the territory they are on, in this case Catalonia, i.e. Spain. They are usually renowned in their communities and their main job is to encourage economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries and to help the citizens of the country they represent.
Barcena San Jose is an entrepreneur and has held the post of Croatia’s honorary consul since May 2002.
More news about relations between Croatia and Spain can be found in the Politics section.