Congress a step away from stripping Laura Borràs of parliamentary immunity

Move would allow Supreme Court to investigate alleged corruption involving JxCat MP

Laura Borràs at a press conference at the Catalan parliament on November 25, 2019 (by Bernat Vilaró)
Laura Borràs at a press conference at the Catalan parliament on November 25, 2019 (by Bernat Vilaró) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

June 18, 2020 05:51 PM

Spain's Congress is now one step away from stripping pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) MP Laura Borràs of her parliamentary immunity in a move that would allow the Supreme Court to investigate her involvement behind allegedly fraudulent contracts.

The Socialists, People's Party, Vox, and Ciudadanos voted in favor of the measure in a congressional MPs Statute Committee meeting on Thursday. Left-wing pro-independence Esquerra Republicana (ERC) - her party's coalition government partners in Catalonia - and Basque Bildu party did not participate in the vote, with Unidas Podemos abstaining and JxCat as well as the Basque Nationalist Party (PNB) voting against it.

The final step before Borràs' parliamentary immunity is likely to be taken away from her will take place next week, on June 25, when the Congress as a whole will vote on the matter behind closed doors.

ERC and Bildu sources explained that while they believe Borràs should be able to defend herself before a judge and they are in favor of investigating any signs of corruption, they do not think she would receive a fair trial in the Supreme Court. 

Borràs, JxCat's spokesperson in the Spanish lower chamber, is accused of fraudulently selecting a supplier for services worth €260,000, as well as prevarication, administrative fraud, embezzlement of public funds, and falsifying documents.

The charges, which Borràs has firmly denied, date back to the period between 2013 and 2018 when she was at the head of the Institute of Catalan Letters, a public body in charge of promoting Catalan literature.

According to investigators, there are signs that Borràs could have fraudulently allocated public contracts to a friend and avoided a public tender by splitting the service into various ones that did not surpass the minimum threshold over which tenders are obligatory.

As an official elected to the Spanish Congress, Borràs can only be investigated by the Supreme Court.