Governing Liberal CDC sells party headquarters, put as judicial warranty if illegal funding were to be proved
Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), which is the Liberal party within the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, has announced the sale of its headquarters, based in Barcelona. CDC, whose leader chairs the Catalan Government since 2010, has justified the decision in order "to save money", as they will relocate their activities in a smaller building, better adapted to the party's current needs, they said. However, the Córcega building is famous for being CDC's warranty before the judge investigating a corruption case (known as the Palau case) that could affect the party's funding scheme. The judge asked the CDC to pay a bailout or present assets as warranty for the payment, if the party was finally found guilty of illegal funding. No trial has taken place yet. The CDC explained they have replaced the headquarters by a group of other properties as warranty, in order to sell the main building.
Barcelona (ACN).- Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), which is the Liberal party and the largest force within the governing two-member centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, has announced the sale of its headquarters, based in Barcelona's Córcega Street. CDC, whose leader chairs the Catalan Government since December 2010, has justified the decision to sell its main office building in order "to save money", as they will relocate their activities in a smaller and cheaper building, better adapted to the party's current needs, they said on Friday. However, the Córcega building, which is the largest party headquarters in Catalonia, is famous for CDC having put it as a warranty before the judge investigating a corruption case (known as the Palau case) that could affect the party's funding scheme. The judge asked the CDC to pay a €3.2 million bailout or present assets worth this amount as a warranty, if the party was finally found guilty of illegal funding. The investigation is still ongoing and no trial has taken place yet. The CDC explained that they have replaced the headquarters by a group of other properties as the judicial warranty, in order to sell the main building, located near the Passeig de Gràcia boulevard.
On Friday, CDC announced it has sold its main headquarters in order "to save money". After 16 years using the facilities, the Liberal party will move to a new building "with glass walls" in order to strength the image of transparency. The exact building is yet to be found, they said, but they would like it to be located in Barcelona's Eixample District.
A Hong Kong group has bought the building
Their current headquarters, which have some 16,000 square metres, are located just between this district and Gràcia neighbourhood, close to the Diagonal avenue and the Passeig de Gràcia boulevard. Land and properties in this part of Barcelona are significantly expensive and the CDC is likely to be able to buy new headquarters in another part of the Catalan capital and still earn money with the operation. Platinum, an investment group from Hong Kong, would be the buyer of the Córcega street building.
The party's new offices should be smaller, but better adapted to the party current needs. For instance, the party has to rent a hotel space to hold its National Council, an operation that costs money. The new facilities should be able to host such a meeting, despite having a total smaller size.
Together with other austerity measures, CDC hopes it will be able to reduce its running costs by 30%, most of them coming from this real estate operation. "We will have a cheaper location, we will reduce running costs and we will be able to host events instead of renting hotel rooms", stated Francesc Sánchez, CDC's Internal Coordinator. The party has not disclosed the exact amount of the operation.
In fact the party has defined three main objectives to sell its headquarters: being able to host large-scale events in its main offices; obtaining additional funds and reducing running costs; and, increase the image of transparency.
Sánchez explained that CDC wants "to participate in the common reflection" that is taking place in the Catalan society to regenerate democracy and the public life, increasing transparency. It is also part of the party's strategy to re-found itself, after a series of scandals that have even affected CDC's former leader and founder, Jordi Pujol, the person who chaired the government of Catalonia for 23 consecutive years between 1980 and 2003.