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Spanish PM Rajoy faces parliament over corruption scandals

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy defended his record in government when he appeared before politicians to answer questions about alleged corruption scandals linked to his ruling Popular Party.

He said he had already dealt with this subject many times in parliament and saw no reason why he should have to do so again. He accused opposition parties of trying to stage an inquisition.

Mr Rajoy gave evidence in court in July about the main corruption scandal affecting the party - a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme that helped finance the group. It was the first time a serving Spanish prime minister had appeared in court.

Mr Rajoy, who is not accused of any misconduct, has moved from denying the allegations outright to saying he was never aware of any wrongdoing in the party's finances.

He began his 35-minute appearance with a speech against terrorism and in solidarity with the victims of the attacks in and near Barcelona earlier this month in which 15 people died.

He praised his government's work in getting Spain's economy out of severe recession and called for unity among politicians to deal with the threat of secession from the powerful north-eastern region of Catalonia.

Addressing the issue of corruption, Mr Rajoy said there was "no impunity in Spain", and that cases are pursued and tried in court.

Leading opposition Socialist spokeswoman Margarita Robles said Mr Rajoy is a premier "under suspicion", adding that it has been shown that Mr Rajoy put up with the allegedly illegal financing of his party and, once again, in his appearance on Wednesday failed to clear up anything.

AP

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