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Congress lifts immunity of pro-independence MP for alleged irregular contracts

JxCat's Laura Borràs to be investigated by Supreme Court after fellow parties for a Catalan state abstain in chamber

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25 June 2020 11:54 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish Congress has lifted the parliamentary immunity of the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) MP Laura Borràs. 

This came on Thursday, half a year after the Supreme Court began investigating her for favoring a friend for a public contract. 

Without this immunity, Spain's top court is able to move forward in the criminal case against the politician for alleged breach of official duty, administrative fraud, misuse of public funds, and falsifying documents. 

In the parliamentary vote, her group voted against the request as did the Basque EAJ-PNV party, while the other two Catalan pro-independence parties, ERC and CUP, did not take part in the vote, nor did the Basque EH Bildu. 

In the past few days, the stance of ERC and CUP has caused frictions with JxCat, which urged its fellow groups in favor of a Catalan state to side in favor of Borràs.  

Pere Aragonès, a senior figure in the ERC party and Catalonia's current vice president, explained that his party abstained as his party was "committed to fighting against corruption." 

Borràs says she is a victim of the judicial "repression" against the independence movement, like the jailed leaders, and ERC says "persecution" needs to be denounced, but any potential wrongdoing also needs to be found out.

Borràs' alleged corruption case

Borràs, JxCat's spokesperson in the Spanish lower chamber, is accused of fraudulently selecting a supplier for services worth €260,000. 

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.

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