THE upcoming Catalan elections have been thrown into turmoil after a system of kickbacks was exposed within the main independence party.
It has emerged that the key separatist party CDC (Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya) allegedly demanded a 3% backhander for awarding contracts to companies.
According to El Mundo, First Minister Artur Mas’s party received a series of 3% bungs in exchange for awarding five public works contracts to construction firm Teyco.
Discovered in a dossier, which consists of typed accounting entries and handwritten notes, the party received kickbacks of more than €343,000 for this one deal alone.
Awarded between March and June 2009, the contracts were for a park, an outdoor swimming pool, a car park and two public buildings.
The so-called ‘3% document’ was found in a safe belonging to Jordi Sumarroca, one of the founders of CDC and the CEO of Teyco, after he was arrested in July for his involvement in corruption.
The existence of a 3% kickback for regional government contracts in Catalunya has been rumoured since 2005.
At a parliamentary session, former Catalan Socialist Party First Minister accused the CDC of having ‘a problem called the 3%’.
But only now, after a year of investigations into the links between CDC and Teyco, has evidence emerged.
Last week a judge ordered Guardia Civil officers into CDC headquarters, in search of documentary proof of bribery and illicit funding from Teyco.
However, CDC spokesman Josep Rull dismissed the operation as a ‘political charge’ designed to influence the outcome of the September 27 regional elections.
The elections had been hoped to give the CDC party a strong independence mandate and potentially lead onto a referendum into the region’s separatist future.