POLITICS

Fraud squad denies authorship of accusation against Artur Mas

Document accusing Catalonia premier of Swiss cash stash not issued by police, statement says

Artur Mas, the acting premier of the Catalonia region.
Artur Mas, the acting premier of the Catalonia region. EFE

The national UDEF financial fraud police unit has flatly denied being behind a phantom report accusing Catalonia regional premier Artur Mas of holding cash from kickbacks on the award of public contracts in Swiss bank accounts.

The Catalonia regional High Court on Wednesday issued a statement from the UDEF denying any knowledge of the supposed report, details of which were published in a national newspaper. "The [...] report was not compiled by the UDEF or by any of the public servants within it. Therefore, the report cannot be verified," the statement read.

The contents of the phantom report was published in the newspaper El Mundo during the electoral campaign in Catalonia, accusing Mas and other members of his nationalist CiU political coalition of systematic fraud. In return, the Catalan premier accuses the Popular Party government of dirty tricks.

Both the interior minister and Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría backed up the supposed report's veracity. "The first thing that those who have overseas bank accounts must do is to declare them," said the government's number two.

The document, when made public, was neither signed nor stamped by UDEF officials and contained no recipient or destination. It has been passed onto the judge investigating the alleged illegal funding of CiU through contracts awarded via Barcelona's Palau de la Música concert hall.

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