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Bitcoin used to hide Catalonia referendum expenses, Spanish police warn

The regional government, led by Carles Puigdemont, paid companies like Amazon and Google in the cryptocurrency to finance the creation of websites and other services that related to the promotion referendum that had been declared illegal by the Spanish administration in Madrid, the Guardia Civil has claimed.

Google was allegedly paid for providing the online tool Project Privacy Shield, that protects websites from cyber attacks while Amazon is said to have been paid for providing the system for counting the votes.

Both firms have received a subpoena, according to a report in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

Investigators working for the Guardia Civil claim to have come across the evidence whilst working for the 13th Court of Barcelona, which has sent a citation to both companies to explain the nature of their relationship with the regional parliament.

Was Bitcoin used by the Catalan government before the referendum?GettyDid the Catalan government use Bitcoin in an attempt to secretly pay for the October referendum?

The judge in charge is looking at how Mr Puigdemont’s administration may have funded the referendum at the start of last month despite measures taken by Madrid to freeze funds.

The Spanish newspaper report claimed one of the heads of the Telecommunications Centre of the Government (CTTI), Josue Sallent, contacted the company Scytl (Secure Electronic Voting) and held several meetings since last April.

It is alleged Mr Sallent proposed "the possible development of a counting software for votes to use in elections to the Parliament of Catalonia and citizen consultations,” according to an unnamed employee quoted by El Mundo.

Everything was expected to be ready by the end of August.

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