Spain raids Catalan public offices amid probe into aid money | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Spain raids Catalan public offices amid probe into aid money

May 24, 2018 - 7:01 AM

MADRID - Spanish police detained 29 people Thursday and raided several offices across Catalonia in an operation against the alleged misappropriation of public development aid money.

Investigating magistrate Joaquin Aguirre in Barcelona ordered the raid as part of a probe into at least 2 million euros ($2.3 million) in development grants from the local government that were allegedly misused in an unspecified manner.

A court statement said the investigation, which is also looking into possible abuse of power and fraud charges, has been going on for more than a year and remains sealed.

The statement said the public funds were meant to help with development projects in Latin America, Morocco, Bosnia and elsewhere. Investigators found that most projects weren't executed, Spain's national police said in a statement, adding that some companies involved were allegedly created with false records.

The police said several former government officials were among those detained, including the former head of the Barcelona provincial government, Salvador Esteve. Esteve was later released but will remain under investigation, Spanish private news agency Europa Press reported.

Europa Press cited police sources saying the funds might have been diverted to support the separatists' drive for Catalan independence.

Pro-independence politicians in Catalonia, including new regional President Quim Torra, said the crackdown was aimed at diverting attention from the verdict in an unrelated major corruption case announced Thursday involving the party ruling at the national level.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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