Span­ish PM ap­pears in par­lia­ment over cor­rup­tion scan­dals

Malta Independent - - BUSINESS -

Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy de­fended his record in gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day as he ap­peared be­fore law­mak­ers to an­swer ques­tions about al­leged cor­rup­tion scan­dals linked to his rul­ing Pop­u­lar Party.

Ra­joy said he had al­ready dealt with this sub­ject many times in par­lia­ment and saw no rea­son why he should have to do so again. He ac­cused op­po­si­tion par­ties of try­ing to stage an in­qui­si­tion.

Ra­joy tes­ti­fied in court in July about the main cor­rup­tion scan­dal af­fect­ing the party, a kick­backs-for-con­tracts scheme that helped fi­nance the group. It was a first court ap­pear­ance for a Span­ish prime min­is­ter in of­fice.

Ra­joy, who is not ac­cused of any wrong­do­ing, has moved from deny­ing the al­le­ga­tions out­right to say­ing he was never aware of any wrong­do­ing in the party’s fi­nances.

He be­gan his 35-minute ap­pear­ance with a speech against ter­ror­ism and in sol­i­dar­ity with the vic­tims of the at­tacks in and near Barcelona ear­lier this month that left 15 peo­ple dead.

He praised his gov­ern­ment’s work in get­ting Spain’s econ­omy out of se­vere re­ces­sion and called for unity among law­mak­ers to deal with the threat of se­ces­sion from the pow­er­ful north­east­ern re­gion of Cat­alo­nia.

Ad­dress­ing the is­sue of cor­rup­tion, Ra­joy said there was “no im­punity in Spain,” and that cases are pur­sued and tried in court.

Lead­ing op­po­si­tion So­cial­ist spokeswoman Mar­garita Robles said Ra­joy is a pre­mier “un­der sus­pi­cion,” adding that it has been shown that Ra­joy put up with the al­legedly il­le­gal fi­nanc­ing of his party and, once again, in his ap­pear­ance Wed­nes­day failed to clear up any­thing.

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