TWO former leaders in Spain’s biggest ever corruption probe have been sentenced to 84 years in prison.
Francisco Correa, the mastermind behind the so-called Gurtel case, has been given 51 years while Luis Barcenas will have to serve 33 years and pay a €44 million fine.
Correa was convicted of heading a corrupt network that worked with party officials in the Partido Popular between 1996 and 2006.
Former PP treasurer Barcenas was found guilty of evading more than €11.5 million in taxes between 2000 and 2009.
He also raked in at least €1.24 million in bribes for facilitating public contract works to certain business leaders who were brought in by Correa.
The case got its name from the German word for correa, or ‘belt’ in Spanish.
Barcenas told the judge in 2013 that he had kept secret ledgers on a party slush fund, and that the orders came down from the current and past presidents and general secretaries of the party, reaching back to 1982.
EL PAÍS first published the Bárcenas ledgers that year, which record cash contributions and donations made by businessmen, and alleged bonus payments to top party officials.
The conservative PP was also found guilty of benefiting financially from corruption and has been ordered to pay €245,492.
Prime minister Mariano Rajoy became the first serving leader in Spain to testify in a criminal case earlier this year when he was grilled on Gurtel’s dealings.
The wife of Barcena was handed 15 years behind bars while the ex-wife of Correa was given 14 years and eight months.