Members of the Ripoll cell that perpetrated the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils wanted to contract micro-credits to finance themselves , according to the case of the National Court. This issue is still being investigated, as is the international relations of the imam who led the group, Abdelbaki is Satty, who was visited four times in the prison of Castellón by state security agents.
The constancy of these efforts to obtain microcredits is derived from the study of telephone calls made from the phones of Mohamed Hichami (killed in Cambrils) and Mohamed Houli , the only survivor of the explosion in the house of Alcanar. Precisely among the rubble of this house was its terminal, which has provided information on the facts.
Thus, there is evidence of contacts with three entities that grant this type of loans. The requests did not exceed 300 euros. So, for example, Houli exchanged SMS with one of these companies between April 30 and June 18 of last year to get 200 euros. In addition, the procedures were performed using a false name. On the other hand, Hichami carried out two telephone negotiations with another manager on July 4 and 8, 2017, that is, already in days very close to the attacks. The Mossos are investigating if they came to collect this money.
The requests for microcredits did not exceed 300 euros
In a report of the police of the Generalitat it is reflected that this is a method used in other occasions by the members of the Islamic State (IS). For example, one of them obtained one of 6,000 euros to buy the weapons that they used in the Paris attacks, as well as to pay for two tickets for two people who were going to fight against Syria; money that is never returned and that once in conflict zones swells the coffers of the terrorist organization. In the opinion of the Mossos, those of Ripoll wanted the funds to buy precursors and to manufacture explosives.
Regarding monetary transactions, there is another striking fact in the summary. Between 2009 and 2014, Mohamed Hichami made a monthly transfer from his bank in Ripoll to an account in Germany. They were quantities that always oscillated between 500 and 1,000 euros and went to a recipient of Arabic name. This regularity aroused suspicion in the Spanish credit institution, which referred the case to its money laundering department, without finding any relevant data. When the employees asked him what they were doing, he replied: “I’m young, but I have business in Germany.”
The links abroad of the members of the Ripoll cell is one of the issues that are still being investigated, singularly centered on the figure of Es Satty, the imam. As is known, this man spent some time in the Belgian town of Vilvoorde. On his return to Spain, he went through Vic and Ripoll, where he maintained contact with two couples who in turn had family in Belgium. Interrogated by the police, these people indicated that they met Es Satty, but that they do not know about their relations with their relatives in Europe.
Satty was in the prison of Castellón between 2010 and 2014. There he received two visits from his wife, but also four from the Civil Guard and the CNI, although the motivations of these meetings have not yet been revealed. In addition, there was also a request to see him from a man nicknamed the Sudaní, who, according to some witnesses, is a very radicalized person.
The investigators have also taken statements from several prisoners who coincided with him in Castellón. One of them has stated that he did not notice that he was radicalized, although he always prayed in the courtyard with a group of Maghrebis led by an individual they called Bin Laden. The wife of another (who is currently expelled from Spain) explained that Ripoll’s imam got in touch with her husband when he left prison to ask for false passports, which justified to bring his children from Morocco. In the Alawi country, Satty left a woman and nine children, while here he remarried with the one who went to visit the penitentiary.
Ripoll’s wanted the funds to buy precursors and make explosives
Other data also emerge from the investigations included in the case. One of them is that the cell rented three vans, as was already known: the one that was used in the Rambla, another that broke down near Cambrils and a third that was abandoned in Vic, which cost them around 1,500 euros. But they were also interested in renting three off-road vehicles, possibly with the idea of causing massive outrages. In any case, from what follows from the inquiries, it seems that the main objective was to perpetrate attacks with explosives that were being manufactured in the house of Alcanar. It was a very important amount, but an accidental explosion in the building and the death of Es Satty made them change their goals.
On the other hand, in the mobile of Houli rescued between the ruins of Alcanar two internet captures of two houses in rent in France were found, near the Spanish border, in the localities of Palau de Cerdanya and Osseja. The owners explained that they have the houses to rent, but that they never dealt with the members of the cell and that they never contacted them. There is no evidence that they were there.