EXILED former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont claims he has evidence Spain has been involved in political espionage against him and others around him as part of its “repression strategy”.

The MEP was speaking yesterday in Paris at a meeting with French politicians when he said the strategy was “very sophisticated”, and included lawfare – a reference to legal actions against the pro-independence lobby – along with fake news about Russia’s involvement in the indy campaign and “political espionage to pursue and attack the reputation of dissident politicians”.

Puigdemont told of “high-level political espionage of which we have evidence, and which will be duly denounced”.

He said he would be raising the matter in the European Parliament in a bid to highlight it among other authorities, and added: “It is unacceptable. No EU state can afford such an attitude. This is a matter of great concern because this seriously affects the quality of European democracy and affects us all.”

The allegation came after Puigdemont claimed tracking devices were found by Belgian police on vehicles he and his colleagues used.

Speaking at the French National Assembly about alleged links to Russia for support for the indy cause, he denied receiving input from any country, other than the offer of mediation from some European states over the October 2017 indyref.

“Unfortunately, the Spanish state did not respond to these proposals,” he said.

The National:

Puigdemont’s claims came as further cracks appeared in the relationship between Catalonia’s ruling coalition parties – the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (Junts) – over the latter’s exclusion from talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez earlier this week.

Jordi Sanchez, general secretary of Junts, was one of the three excluded by Catalan President Pere Aragones because they were not in his Cabinet.

He tried to play down the gravity of the row, telling Catalonia Radio: “I will not look for what many want, that is a verbal conflict with the president.”

However, he admitted: “It is not a minor discrepancy, but it should not have more recourse in other areas.”