FORMER PP treasurer Luis Barcenas has accused Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of knowing ‘from the beginning’ about illegal party payments.
Barcenas – who is at the centre of the slush-fund scandal that rocked the ruling party – made the claim after posting bail of €200,000 last week.
He has been locked in a jail near Madrid since June 2013, awaiting trial on charges including tax fraud and bribery.
The former treasurer stands accused of running the slush-fund, designed to channel kickbacks and party donations to senior party officials.
He was arrested after Swiss authorities revealed that he had millions of euros stashed in offshore accounts.
Rajoy sent Barcenas personal text messages, published by Spanish daily El Mundo, urging him to ‘be strong’ in standing up to the corruption allegations.
However, Barcenas’ relationship with the party went downhill after he was jailed and stopped insisting that the slush-fund never existed.
It has now become a case of Barcenas’ word against the prime minister’s, in a critical election year.
Rajoy has not responded to the latest accusation, but a government spokesman said no member of the government had been charged in the case and it was up to the judiciary to rule on the matter.
Barcenas is facing a prison sentence of 42 years, while Rajoy and the most senior members of his administration have yet to be threatened directly by the corruption allegations.