A man withdraws cash from a 'Banc Sabadell' Catalan bank's ATM in Barcelona on October 5, 2017. AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU
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Big banks threatened Thursday to abandon Catalonia over vows by regional leaders to break away from Spain after the national government rejected calls for mediation in the volatile standoff.With Catalan leaders warning they could proclaim independence in the tourist-friendly region as early as Monday, the economic stakes were rising in Spain's worst political crisis in decades.Spain's fifth-biggest bank Sabadell was set to discuss whether to shift its legal domicile away from Catalonia in response to the crisis, a spokesman said.If Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont follows through on his threat to declare independence next week, Spain could respond by suspending Catalonia's existing autonomous status and imposing direct rule from Madrid.Catalan authorities claim that out of the 2.2 million people who voted on Sunday, 90 percent backed independence although turnout was around 42 percent.
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