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Title: Catalan ruling party hit by graft probe ahead of September election - The Local
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Catalan ruling party hit by graft probe ahead of September election - The Local: "Police searched the headquarters of the party and of ...
Catalan ruling party hit by graft probe ahead of September election - The Local: "Police searched the headquarters of the party and of its CatDem Foundation in Barcelona as well as the home of a former party treasurer and four town halls across Catalonia as part of the probe.

Spanish authorities suspect the foundation collected commissions from companies that won public works from town halls that were run by the conservative nationalist party, a judicial source said.

The operation came hours before the first major pre-campaign act by the pro-independence coalition "Together for the Yes" made up of the CDC, the left-wing ERC party and civil society groups that want Catalonia to break away from Spain.

The coalition is treating Catalonia's regional election on September 27th as a plebiscite on independence.

It has vowed to push through an 18-month roadmap for secession for the region of some 7.5 million people which accounts for a fifth of Spain's economic output if it wins a majority of seats in the regional assembly.

The general co-ordinator of the CDC, Josep Rull, denied any wrongdoing on the part of the party and accused Spanish authorities of seeking to "improperly influence" the elections.

"The goal is not transparency but to create a media circus before very significant elections. They can search all the headquarters they want, they won't find anything because there is nothing to find," he told a news conference.

The operation is linked to the arrest last month of Catalan businessman Jordi Sumarroca, who is close to the CDC, on suspicion that one of his firms paid commissions in exchange for winning public works contracts.

It is likely to generate tension ahead of the election between the CDC and the left-wing ERC party, which has taken a hard line against corruption."



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