JAILED former treasurer of Spain’s Partido popular (PP), Luis Barcenas, has said ex prime Minister Mariano Rajoy knew about the illegal funding of the party.
Barcenas is serving 29 years over under the table payments amounting to millions of euros in what is known as the Gürtel case.
These went into an undeclared slush fund and came from party donors, many of whom had been awarded lucrative government contracts. Some €600 million worth of contracts are said to have been involved.
Barcenas used a dual accounting system to hide the illegal cash – none of which was declared to the tax man – with millions being stashed in Swiss bank accounts.
Between 1990 and 2008 the money was used for ‘irregular’ payments and salaries to PP members.
Barcenas is now facing a new trial, with him due in court tomorrow (Monday, February 8) and faces a five-year sentence over a further €800,000 of payments.
Jose Maria Aznar and Mariano Rajoy, two former PP prime ministers will appear in court as witnesses.
Barcenas has sent a letter to prosecutors indicating that he wants to cooperate.
In it he alleges that Rajoy was aware of the slush fund, with the former PM having been shown documents detailing transactions in 2009. Barcenas claims Rajoy put these through the shredder, not realising that the treasurer had kept copies.
El Pais reported that the letters said: “Since 1982 there was an institutionalized system of financing with unofficial revenue obtained through donations.” Some of those donations were made ‘by people with ties to companies that benefited from major public contract awards. The donations were made in cash directly to [Barcenas’ predecessor, the deceased former treasurer] Alvaro Lapuerta, and I was present in some cases.