There was once a kingdom called Morocco very concerned about what their children were doing outside their borders. So much so that one day he decided to reward his submissive offspring and to watch over traitors and those who showed too extreme religious ideals. Two decades ago the kingdom began to send its best vigilantes (spies) to the neighbor upstairs, to Spain, which has, in its right corner, a somewhat rebellious garret called Catalonia, where 218,985 Moroccans live. The purpose of these vigilantes was to set up a network of confidants to learn about everything that was happening within their community. Confidants at the foot of the street (and mosque) and others close to people with a very strong ideology (the independentistas).
They started to create associations and Islamic centers that received millions of euros in grants from Papa Morocco to, in theory, train their preachers (imams), build mosques and control those who make a misinterpretation (jihadism) of a religion that immense Most of his followers feel like peace. However, much of that money that is sent to the associations of Muslims ends up diverted into the pocket of increasingly rich vigilantes , who use their women to move the tickets from one place to another through ghost companies (blanching lids). ). Part of the loot is in the accounts of Spanish and Moroccan banks in the name of the vigilantes and their wives. The rest – money in cash – ends up in small quantities among the confidants (the taxi driver, the waiter, the politician, the banker …) scattered throughout Catalonia and the rest of the Spanish geography. The epicenter of everything is a travel agency in Carrer Victòria de Mataró.
This is a story of spies that could perfectly well have come from the head of the novelist John le Carré but that really came out many years ago from an office in Rabat. A history of secrets and corruption that took her to Catalonia a colonel named Mustapha El Mouahidi , strong man in the General Directorate of Studies and Documentation (DGED), the foreign intelligence service of Morocco. El Mouahidi was in the Moroccan consulate of Barcelona until 2009, when he returned to his country with the mission accomplished. He had set up a network of spies and confidants in Catalonia that would later spread throughout the rest of Spain.
One of the fundamental pieces of that network was a guy who had been leading an association in Vilanova del Camí since 1999 (Barcelona). His name, Nourredine Ziani, appears in the archives of the CNI as “a danger to national security”. Therefore, in 2013, the Ministry of the Interior expelled him from Spain, indicating him as an agent of the DGED and accused by the then Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz of “promoting radicalism and having Salafist ideas.”
Three years before his expulsion, in February 2010, Ziani set up the Union of Islamic Cultural Centers of Catalonia (Uccic) . With this association, he officially coordinated 70 mosques in Catalonia, formed imams, organized activities and helped the integration of the Muslim community. He received grants of more than two million euros a year from the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Morocco. Although that money actually ended in several bank accounts of Ziani and his wife, Atiqa Bouhouria Meliani , key in a plot with too many tentacles.
Let’s start in 2013, when a travel agency called Aya Travel Tours opens in Carrer Vitòria de Mataró. It was recorded by three women: Atiqa Bouhouria, Naima Lamalmi and Naziha El Montaser . All registered at the address of Atiqa, in the Generalitat de Cataluña street in Barcelona. Naima, who has a dental clinic in Rabat, is married to Mohamed Belahrech , head of the DGED in the capital of the kingdom. He is in charge of controlling mosques and imams in countries like Spain and sending agents to their missions abroad. Naziha also lives in Rabat, is a teacher and wife of Abdellah Boussouf , secretary general of the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME), a position appointed directly by Mohamed VI. One of its functions is to supervise the money that is sent from Morocco to their communities in European countries. And, interestingly, Boussouf, Belahrech and Ziani (Atiqa’s spy husband) have another travel agency, Elysee Travels , based in Rabat.
“They are all ghost companies to divert and launder money that came to the Uccic from the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Morocco (where Ziani is now working). Transfers were made to the bank accounts of Ziani, his wife Atiqa and also to the agency Aya Travel. And then, part of that money, ended up in the other ghost agency of Rabat managed by three strong men of the Moroccan state “, explains the legal source that takes the case and asks not to reveal his name. «This is as if in Spain the Secretary of State for Agriculture was sending money from public coffers to projects in South America, supervised by the general director of the food industry and then his women take it out in Peru and send it to their husbands’ accounts »
Ziani set up the infrastructure in Catalonia. Boussouf and Belahrech sent public funds for grants and their women whitened it so that the money would go back into the pockets of their husbands. This is the chain that appears in the documents (accounts of the Uccic, bank transfers, withdrawals in cash and proceedings of a court in Barcelona) to which Crónica has had exclusive access.
Everything began to be discovered internally in 2015, when the people who took over the Uccic after the deportation of spy Ziani, headed by Mimon Jalich , conducted an audit of their accounts (from 2012 to 2015) when they verified that almost all the money they had received from Morocco had not been used for the purposes set out in their statutes. Mimon called an extraordinary meeting, renewed the meeting and found that the numbers did not match. One year later all that information ended in the Magistrate’s Court 5 of Igualada , which opened proceedings and whose Prosecutor’s Office is investigating it as a crime of fraud in subsidies.
There is much more. “They formed the association to set up activities, although in truth the money they received was for the personal purposes of Ziani and his Moroccan intelligence chiefs,” explains one of Uccic’s employees. «They used the association as a housing. They live like kings with the money that Morocco sends to Spain to prevent jihadism . And then they have also spent it on paying the confidants. We have proven that one was given 300 euros for one information, another 500 … ” In the accounts of the association you can see almost daily transfers to the personal accounts of Ziani and Atiqa, income that totals more than 240,000 every two weeks in 2011-2013.
«And they have not been able to justify practically nothing . Atiqa has testified in court (the last time six months ago) and has submitted hundreds of false invoices, for example, of Arabic classes issued on 31 February, a day that does not exist, “he adds. Marta Segura , the lawyer who leads the defense of Atiqa, does not want to answer any of these questions because “the case is in a judicial process.”
“We hired an expert test to see how much money could have been diverted and it is impossible to know the full amount because they had accounts in many banks. We obtained, by judicial order, the banking movements made in Banco Popular -where there was an account with 1.3 million- and la Caixa. But Ziani and his wife also had accounts with ING and Deutsche Bank, “explains the legal source. “They are scammers who thought they were going to get away with this impunity. And if you start to scratch more deeply no one imagines what you can find, “says Mimon Jalich, current president of Uccic, whose signature appears falsified in a check of 49,000 euros to the Sabadell mosque that never really arrived. «Atiqa tried to justify the expenses with a congress of ulemas (scholars of Islam, for which they received a transfer of 390,410 euros from Morocco) with several invoices of more than 50,000 of Aya Travel that were made all on the same day, on Sunday. And the judge who takes the case raised a record for documentary falsification . We also checked that Atiqa went through all the ATMs in Barcelona to get that money in amounts that did not exceed 2,000 euros. They have done everything in a very clumsy way; they believed themselves unpunished ».
From the Uccic they assure that Ziani and Atiqa created other structures to launder the money. Like the Federation of Entities of Islamic Cultural Centers of Catalonia (“the money that was approved for the association was diverted to the account of this organization”), the High Commissioner of Islamic Culture, Union Association of Cultural Centers of Catalonia or the Gran Foundation Mosque. “And then there are the payments they made to their collaborators in cash with the money they got from all these associations,” they add from Uccic. They refer to the confidants and agents of the DGED who live in Catalonia.
“Most of them are low profiles, people who spend all day in mosques and neighborhoods where there are more Muslims. They watch, they listen and then they sing to their superiors. But there are also people linked to all the parties , because Morocco is now interested in having its people in all movements to promote the Moroccan discourse of peace and tolerance, “says a former Moroccan diplomat based in Spain. Here appear names like the socialist deputy Mohamed Chaib , who was in the Parlament of Catalonia while he belonged to the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad, the body led by Abdellah Boussouf. He was also closely related to the spy Ziani. «They had a project to divide the influence of Morocco in Catalonia. Chaib was going to control the cultural field and Ziani the religious “, reveals the former Moroccan diplomat.
A politician of lower profile than Chaib is Fouad El Jebli , candidate for the PDeCAT in Canovellas and who met with Carles Puigdemont in Belgium this April. A former Moroccan agent described him as “an inactive but infiltrated spy”, whose interlocutor is an agent of the DGED who works at the Moroccan Consulate in Barcelona.
Another person linked to the independence movements is Younes El Harrak . He appears as the sole administrator of the agency Aya Travels (“The women put him there in exchange for money, but he has no power of decision, he testified in court and said he knew nothing, that he only knew Atiqa”). The Harrak has served as a magnet in the Annour mosque in Mataró and is now part of Nous Catalans . “An organization -in which Ziani spy was also linked to the independence parties that has spent these years catching Moroccans for the cause,” the former diplomat said. “Those who rule in Rabat are not interested in Catalonia getting independence. They do not want it or accept it because it is a discourse that can splash on the question of the Sahara. In addition, the Catalan independence movement has tried to link itself with the activism of the Riffian movement. Another thing is that an Islamic current that is in the secret services and within the Moroccan government is very interested in a destabilization of Spain, “he added a few weeks ago Crónica J. , an agent of the CNI expert in terrorism.
PRESSURES FROM RABAT
After Atiqa appeared for the first time in the Igualada court (January 2017), Mimon Jalich, the current president of the Uccic, received a call from a guy from Melilla named Muhammad Khalifa: “Those from below (Rabat) are very worried and want to talk to you ». And Mimon, along with another employee of the association, traveled to the capital to meet with Mohamed Belahrech, the head of the DGEG in Rabat and owner of the other front agency, Elysee Travels. “I want all this to end, I do not have time for this nonsense,” Belahrech told them. «It is a shame that you take a woman to court (Atiqa). You work for the CNI ». Their strategy was to point them out as traitors so they would not continue investigating. “What I want is for this to be resolved. How much would it cost? », Sentenced Belahrech.
Weeks after that meeting, Mimon Jaich submitted a letter of resignation in the court of Igualada, although it was already late because the prosecution and the judge were on top of the case. ” Nobody has pressured or bought me . I wanted to renounce to continue with the complaint because these processes are very long and expensive, “defends Mimon.
What he does not know -or does not want to know- is that all this plot is a global network that is not only concentrated in Catalonia. “In other countries, such as France and Belgium, they set up their espionage agencies financed by these public subsidies. And the same happens in associations in Madrid or Andalusia . There are many millions that are diverted into the pockets of a few and to pay spies and confidants, “explains the legal source that leads the case.
El Mundo contacted several people involved in this report (Ziani, Atiqa and El Harrak) but they all refuse to give any statement.
“Those who rule in Morocco are aware of all that these people have done. When this comes to light they will point out those who have done all the operations (Atiqa, Naima, Nazhia and their husbands) and will say that they have diverted money for their personal use and that the DGED has nothing to do ». A spy game , that of Morocco, of which there are still many things to come out.
Source: El Mundo
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