AUTHORITIES in Spain are pushing for the family of General Franco to return an 18th-century mansion to the people, arguing that the family’s purchase of the home nearly six decades ago was fraudulent.

The government of Galicia is insisting that the northwestern region reclaims La Casa Cornide as part of efforts to remove the last vestiges of the far-right authoritarian regime.

The palace, built in an unusual late Baroque style  and once home to 18th-century naturalist José Andrés Cornide, was bought by the dictator’s wife Carmen Polo in 1962. 

However, the government in Galicia have started legal proceedings to prove that the purchase of the house was not legal. 

They say that two mayors of A Coruña secured municipal ownership only to auction it soon afterwards to Franco’s wife days later for a fraction of the price. 

They also claim that the sale to the wife of the head of state was illegal. Experts have said in a consultation report that ‘the architects of the sale were well aware of this prohibition’.

Spanish authorities want the home to be brought under national heritage protection laws so that the public may visit the property. It would also prevent the family from selling the palace or disposing of its contents without permission. 

Last year the family put the 11 bedroom, 13 bathroom house on sale but did not share any photographs of the interior of the property. 

The family’s lawyer Luis Felipe Utrera Molina said they could ‘put up for sale any property that is theirs’.

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