The Catalan President and CDC leader, Artur Mas, guarantees he will react if the party’s corruption scandal is proved
The day after the judge ended his investigation and stated he believed the governing party Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) had earned 5.1 million in an influence peddling case, the party’s leader and President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, talked in front of the Catalan Parliament. Mas stated that the judge’s suspicions about CDC were “not proved” and he underlined the trial had not started yet. The Catalan President said he believed in the word of the party members involved in the scandal. However, he also stated that, if at the end the suspicions are backed up with proofs, he “will be the first one to act” as the party leader. The opposition parties asked Mas for further explanations.
Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the Catalan Government and leader of Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), Artur Mas, faced the Catalan Parliament on Wednesday, the day after the judge stated there was evidence the governing CDC might have illicitly earned €5.1 million in an influence peddling case, the so called Palau case. CDC is the Liberal party within the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) which runs the Catalan Government. Mas stated that the judge’s suspicions about CDC were “not proved” and he underlined the trial had not started yet. The Catalan President said he believed in the word of the party members involved in the scandal, who are denying the accusations. “I want to believe them, because I know they are telling the truth”, emphasised Mas. However, he also stated that, if at the end the suspicions are backed up with proofs, he “will be the first one to act” as the party leader. The opposition parties have directly asked Mas about the scandal. They have asked Mas for further explanations and to adopt the consequent measures if the accusations turn out to be true. The Catalan President replied to the opposition saying that there are no suspicions that any member of the Government participated in the case.
The Catalan President insisted that the judge’s final report published yesterday did not include proofs regarding the suspicions that CDC would have allegedly earned illicit money through donations made by the construction company Ferrovial to the Palau de la Música concert hall in exchange for public work contracts. He also reminded that these public contracts “have been investigated in all possible ways and nothing has ever been found”. Mas reminded that several independent audits – some of which asked for by other political parties – had been undertaken without showing irregular allocations. The Catalan President said that accusations need to be backed up by proofs and not by mere suspicions. The CDC leader ensured in front of the Parliament that the party was not illegally funded, according to the information he has. Mas added that the party has people in charge of its finances who guarantee no illicit money has funded the party. “I believe them”, he concluded. He also underlined that the Government he chairs is working to strengthen transparency in Catalonia.
The opposition has heavily criticised CDC and Mas for the scandal. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) – which has a parliamentary stability agreement with the CiU – asked Mas to provide detailed explanations on the 31st of July, when the Catalan President will talk in front of a parliamentary committee about this issue. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) asked Mas to react now and adopt the appropriate measures. “Catalans have the right to know if you became President thanks to a campaign paid for by dirty money”, stated the PSC leader, Pere Navarro. The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, accused the CiU of corruption and stated that CiU’s case was worse than Bárcenas’ – the main corruption scandal affecting the PP and the Spanish Prime Minister. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) compared Bárcenas’ case with the Palau case, and accused the CiU and the PP of hiding corruption cases. The anti-Catalan nationalism and populist party Ciutadans (C’s) asked Mas to adopt appropriate measures or to resign. Finally the radical left-wing and independence party CUP stated that the “impunity feeling” regarding corruption is “intolerable and unbearable”.