Jaume Casals: The Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia investigates the irregular collection of salary supplements of the former rector of the Pompeu Fabra University | News from Catalonia

The ex-chancellor of Pompeu Fabra University, Jaume Casals.UPF

The Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia is investigating the allegedly irregular collection of remuneration of the former rector of the Pompeu Fabra University, Jaume Casals, as director of the Barcelona Institute of Humanities. Following a complaint filed in September, Antifraud has made inquiries to the two institutions about the incompatibility of receiving both salaries, since a full-time university professor cannot receive payments for another activity. Casals has admitted to this newspaper that he receives this supplement, of around 15,000 euros per year, but assures that, after speaking with the UPF, he has decided to resign from the position at the Institute of Humanities, which he has held for three decades.

Jaume Casals is currently on a sabbatical period, a benefit that can be availed of by people who have held a government position, as is his case, who was rector of Pompeu from 2013 to 2021. Casals plans to return to teaching on next year, but since May of last year he has been president of the board of trustees of the Barcelona School of Management (BSM), a center attached to the university.

Casals admits that he has held the position of director of the Institute of Humanities since 1993, although he downplays the importance of the position and assures that it is part of his “leisure” time. “I have never had a schedule or a salary. I have been paid to participate in some courses or act as a programming guide, but I have not worked at the institute,” says the former rector. Sources from the institution corroborate this: “The director is fictitious, he gets paid for doing nothing, he never goes there or attends meetings.” Currently, Casals receives about 15,000 euros annually, a figure that has varied over the years and that has been higher, according to sources at the center, when it had more public funding.

The Barcelona Institute of Humanities is a private foundation dedicated to organizing continuing training courses related to culture. The center, located on the grounds of the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), is financed by the Barcelona Provincial Council.

Asked if he had not realized the incompatibility after so long, Casals is convinced that he has not done anything wrong. “I don’t think it’s incompatible. “Everything is due to Antifraud’s interpretation of the regulations.” However, Casals admits that the university alerted him to the problem, after the consultation received by Antifraud, and that he has decided to leave his position. “If it has to be a problem, I have already announced that I am leaving the institute.

The UPF assures that it prefers not to talk about the case because the Anti-Fraud investigation is still open, but adds that it had never received a complaint.

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Casals currently chairs the BSM board of trustees, thanks to a controversial change in the statutes made last May, since until then this position had always fallen to the campus rector. The UPF justifies this by strengthening relations between the university and the BSM, “and sometimes the rector cannot be in both places and Casals was chosen because he knows them well”, since he has held management positions in the two centers. However, Casals assures that he does not receive any remuneration and that he has waived the allowances that correspond to him.

Indications of “fraud” in the salaries of two professors

The investigation into Casals has coincided with the complaint filed in November, also before the Anti-Fraud Office, for the remuneration received by the UPF Economics professors, José García Montalvo and Teresa Garcia-Milà from private institutions. Specifically, Montalvo receives around 275,000 euros per year for his position on the board of directors of Abanca (which he has held since 2014) and Garcia-Milà, around 287,000 euros per year, as a member of the board of directors of Repsol (since 2019), as it progressed Eldiario.es.

According to the Anti-Fraud resolution, dated February 15, to which this newspaper has had access, these events contain “indications of fraud or corruption compatible with very serious responsibilities.” The regulations indicate that full-time professors and professors, as was the case of Montalvo and Milà, cannot carry out “any paid public or private activity.” The UPF admits that both teachers, at the time, had made “an informal consultation” – although it does not say when or to whom – about this incompatibility, “but they were poorly informed” and were allowed, since the position was University meant “four to six hours a month.”

Antifraud indicates that, if teachers want to maintain both positions, they must reduce their dedication to the university. And they do it like that. Montalvo did it on November 10 —according to the UPF, before the Anti-Fraud notification, on November 25—, but Milà did it later, in December. Then, they were informed that both remunerations were incompatible. Pompeu admits that if a few years ago the professors had made the formal consultation, “they would also have been notified that they were not compatible.” In February, the faculty commission approved the change from full to part-time dedication, which meant that Montalvo had to resign as Commissioner of Science Policy. This newspaper has not been able to obtain the version of the two professors.

Pompeu Fabra does not rule out that there are more similar cases, but refuses to initiate an investigation “due to lack of resources.” However, he assures that he will send an email to all teachers reminding them of the regulations on compatibility.

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