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Corruption scandal could set back Catalonia's independence bid

Corruption scandal could set back Catalonia's independence bid
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Ex-Catalan premier Jordi Pujol is to be stripped of his honorary privileges after admitting to 34-years’ worth of tax evasion.

He ruled the region for 23 years and as such earns an annual pension of over 86,000 euro; has an official car; and is honorary president of the CDC pro-independence party – all of which he will now have to give up.

The career of current regional premier Artur Mas was launched by the disgraced politician, who is widely considered the father of contemporary Catalan nationalism.

Mas hinted that Pujol would continue to consult on the campaign to give Catalonia independence from Spain.

“Given that Catalonia comes first and foremost, before any person, regardless of their importance or fame, everything will go ahead as planned,” he said. “This plan has the support of numerous people.”

The revelation comes at a delicate time for the pro-independence drive, adding to a Spain-wide crisis of faith in politicians after the emergence of several corruption scandals in recent months.

Catalonia is hoping to hold a referendum on independence in November 2014; a move Spain’s central government in Madrid opposes on the grounds it is anti-constitutional.