Spain seeks help from France, Belgium in Basque funds probe
Spain's top anti-terrorist judge has asked authorities in France and Belgium to investigate nine people who allegedly received large sums of money from a Basque separatist group.
MADRID, March 14, 2008 - Spain's top anti-terrorist judge has asked
authorities in France and Belgium to investigate nine people who allegedly
received large sums of money from a Basque separatist group, judicial sources
Judge Baltasar Garzon sent formal requests seeking information on seven
people residing in France and two in Belgium, according to the sources.
Garzon said they received a total of 208,000 euros (325,000 dollars) from
the Communist Party of the Basque Lands (PCTV).
On February 5, Garzon charged the leader of the PCTV, Juan Carlos Ramos
Sanchez, and its two treasurers, Jesus Maria Aguirre Arruabarrena and Sonia
Jacinto Garcia, with membership in a terrorist group.
The judge has argued that both the PCTV and another party, the Basque
Nationalist Action (ANV), are being used as fronts to enable Batasuna, the
political wing of the armed separatist group ETA, to get around a ban on
running in elections.
Batasuna has been banned since 2003 for refusing to condemn violence and
cut its links to ETA, which has killed 820 people in Spain during almost four
decades of fighting for Basque independence.
Spain's supreme court on February 8 banned the PCTV and the ANV from taking part in last Sunday's legislative elections in Spain. The court also suspended the finances of the PCTV, which won seven seats in the Basque regional parliament in 2005 elections.