Crisis: Catalan governor accused of wasting taxpayer money

After anti-independence manifesto, luxurious Moscow trip

05 November, 17:25

Crisis: Catalan governor accused of wasting taxpayer money Crisis: Catalan governor accused of wasting taxpayer money

(ANSAmed) - ROME, NOVEMBER 5 - Secessionist-minded Catalan President Artur Mas is on the hot seat, for more than one reason.

After several hundred intellectuals and economists led by film director Pedro Almodovar and writer Mario Vargas Llosa yesterday signed a call against Catalan independence, ABC newspaper on Monday accused the Mas administration of wasting taxpayer money on his recent trip to Moscow.

The mission to the Spanish-Russian economic forum cost recession-battered Catalans money they can ill afford, as Mas chose to travel with a retinue of 80, all of whom stayed at the five-star Radisson Royal Hotel, which replaced the renowned Ukraina patronized by the Soviet-era nomenklatura.

Mas and his wife stayed in the 1600-euro-a-night Ambassador Suite, according to ABC. This is the most elite accommodation in the already luxurious hotel, which, since it was bought out and renovated by the Radisson chain, now boasts interior decoration fit for a prince, complete with the glow of crystal, marble, and works of art, indoor pools, a spa, an Italian restaurant, and the best hospitality money can buy.

The central government has refused Catalonia increased fiscal autonomy, which Barcelona said would bring the autonomous region out of the crisis, while Mas continues to reap criticism for his acceleration towards independence, including early elections on November 25. In case of victory, he will call a popular referendum on self-determination.

Those least in favor of such a move remind Mas that Catalonia is not Scotland: it is heavily indebted, closing the second quarter this year 43.9 billion euros in the red, or 22% of its GDP. (ANSAmed).

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