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    Voting at a polling station in Barcelona during a referendum on Catalonia's independence. File photo

    Spanish Auditors Order Catalan Ex-Leader to Repay 2014 Independence Vote Costs

    © Sputnik / Alexey Vitvitsky
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    MADRID (Sputnik) - The Spanish court of auditors on Monday ordered former Catalan president Artur Mas and his officials to repay $5.6 million in budget funds used to hold a ballot on independence.

    Spain’s main accounting watchdog ruled that Catalan authorities had misappropriated over 4.9 million euros in public money. Mas argued it was used for the good of the Catalans, such as for the purchase of 7,000 computers which improved the region's education system.

    The auditors ordered last year to arrest the ex-president's home in Barcelona and seize the property of his former Vice President Joana Ortega, government ex-spokesman Francesc Homs, and former Education Minister Irene Rigau to repay vote expenses.

    READ MORE: Disturbing Phenomenon: Spain Always Had Strange Mix of 'Casual Racism' — Scholar

    Over 80 percent of those who voted in the non-binding poll in November 2014 – three years before the controversial referendum – backed the proposed split from Spain. The Constitutional Court called the vote illegal.

    READ MORE: Catalan Parliament Passes Resolution to Abolish Monarchy in Spain

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    budget funds, independence referendum, Artur Mas, Catalonia, Spain
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