Spanish Minister Under Pressure as Leak Suggests Smear Campaign

Article published at Bussiness News, 22nd June 2016, by Maria Tedeo.

Photo: By Catalan News Agency.

Spain’s acting interior minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, is facing calls to resign after a series of leaked recordings showed him asking a top anti-fraud official for information to discredit political rivals in Catalonia.

The audio files published by Publico news site as Spaniards gear up for a general election on Sunday appear to show Fernandez Diaz quizzing the head of the Catalan anti-fraud agency for evidence of corruption involving the region’s two main political parties, Convergencia and the Catalan Republican Left, as well as any other details that could damage their leaders. The conversation, according to Publico, was taped back in 2014 when the region held a disputed referendum on independence from Spain.

Fernandez Diaz, who’s running on the incumbent People’s Party ticket for Barcelona, denied any wrongdoing in an interview with Cadena Cope radio. He said the recordings had been taken out of context to damage the government’s reputation ahead of the June 26 ballot and it was “offensive” to think a minister would order officials to concoct evidence for political motives.

Spaniards are heading to the polls for the second time in six months with the PP on track to remain the biggest group, but way short of a majority. Since taking power in 2011, the PP has been damaged by multiple corruption scandals involving top officials the party’s main rivals have called on the 61-year-old Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to step aside to regenerate trust in the institutions. Rajoy denies any wrongdoing.

Read the full article here.

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