Spanish Prime Minister under pressure as it emerges that he took illegal cash payments for up to 20 years

LAST UPDATED: 10 Jul, 2013 @ 16:09
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Spanish Prime Minister under pressure as it emerges that he took illegal cash payments for up to 20 years

THE government has insisted that the so-called ‘Barcenas files’ do not threaten the stability of the government.

It comes after the former treasurer for the right wing PP party Luis Barcenas claimed he can prove that the party has been violating fundraising laws for over 20 years.

After being sent to prison to await trial for his part in the Gurtel corruption scandal, he revealed that he had a series of documents to back up his claims.

He broke his silence to reveal how donors used to arrive at party headquarters with bags and suitcases full of cash.

Some of this would be channelled into the official party bank accounts, while some would be used to cover election expenses outside the official campaign fund.

Another portion of the money however, would go into a safe and contribute to a party slush fund he told El Mundo.

Leaked papers earlier showed that Rajoy received 35 cash payments from the slush fund between 1997 and 2008; worth a total of €322,000.

New documents published by the newspaper show that other senior party figures, including Andalucia PP party boss Javier Arenas, also took cash payments.

Arenas took at least 2.8 million pesetas in cash while working as the government’s employment minister in 1997 on top of his salary.

Two former PP ministers Jaime Mayor and Rodrigo Rato took the same amount of money as Rajoy in the so-called ‘Caja B’ black money accounts.

Earlier this year Barcenas was arrested after the courts discovered over 40m euros of money had been salted away, apparently for the party, in a series of offshore bank accounts in Switzerland.

Similar accounts apparently exist in the Cayman Islands and other offshore entities.

However last night finance minister Luis de Guindos insisted that the claims would not threaten the government or the country’s ‘return to stability’.

“The markets are continuing to bounce back as confidence in the Spanish economy returns,” he said.

Rajoy refused to comment on the growing corruption scandal engulfing the party at a meeting of the rightwing FAES think-tank at the weekend, but instead pointed out that green shoots were starting to appear in the economy.

“We cannot say, like in other times, that Spain is doing well, but we can say that it is doing better and that the direction is correct.

“We are much better than last year, but much worse than in July of the year 2015; that it is our aim — you can be sure that we are going to achieve it.”

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