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Former PSOE minister accused of taking illegal payments
• Former Public Works Minister Jose Blanco
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THE net of corruption has finally snared a big fish from the Socialist PSOE party.
A former minister in Zapatero’s government has denied taking nearly €300,000 in return for permits for a pharmaceutical business.
Former Public Works Minister Jose Blanco has insisted he will give up his seat if he’s charged in an investigation into allegations he received payments from Galician businessman Jorge Dorribo.
The Supreme Court is investigating whether a total of €290,000 was paid to Blanco, 51, who was in the cabinet from 2009 to 2011.
Currently he enjoys legal immunity because of his role as deputy general of the PSOE party, however the Supreme court has requested that his immunity be lifted so he can face the accusations.
“If the judges decide to give the order for a hearing, I will resign as a deputy and leave my seat,” Blanco said.
The court opened the investigation in December 2011 on charges of accepting bribes for influence.
Last month the judge requested the bank account details of Blanco and his wife from the tax authorities and extracts from the period 2006 to 2011.
Meanwhile, the courts continue to investigate whether former PP treasurer Luis Barcenas paid millions in cash from offshore accounts to various PP ministers and current Prime Minister Rajoy.
It has emerged that PP officials got detectives to tap his phone and monitor him as they feared he would go public with the claims.
The government is now suing newspaper El Pais claiming that so-called ledgers owned by Barcenas and showing payments are fake.
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