Mas accuses "sewers" of the state of trying to influence Catalan elections

Premier's party charges police with "electoral" crime over corruption report

Catalan premier Artur Mas on Tuesday suggested that a supposed police report implicating him in alleged financial wrongdoing was aimed at harming his and his Catalan center-right nationalist coalition CiU's chances in elections in the region, due to be held on Sunday.

"If nobody takes responsibility for anything and there are calumnies and slurs, perhaps what we have here is that they are making up theoretical evidence to see if they can alter the result of the elections," Mas said.

Mas is running on an independence platform, a move the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said could lead to the break-up of Spain. He has pledged to hold a referendum on independence for the region if he wins an absolute majority, but opinion polls indicate he will fail to do so.

Spanish daily El Mundo last week ran a story on the existence of a draft report implicating Mas in an alleged kickbacks for public contracts case in Catalonia. Neither the judge nor the prosecutor in the case are aware of the existence of any such report, as is the case with the Interior Ministry.

Mas has brought a criminal lawsuit against the daily and the CDC partner in the CiU on Tuesday lodged an accusation of "electoral" offenses against the unidentified officers in the police's anticorruption unit, which the daily claims drew up the supposed draft report.

Mas described the case as a "set-up" of the "sewers of the state" aimed at trying to destroy him. "It's not that they just want to prevent a referendum from being held. They're doing everything they can to redirect the will of the people," Mas said.

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