Spanish Prime Minister’s corruption scandal

This video says about itself:

Feb 1, 2013

In austerity-struck Spain, street protesters are screaming for the government to resign over the latest corruption scandal. At the head of the conservative People’s Party (PP), Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said he will speak publicly on the matter on Saturday. It concerns allegations that members benefited from a slush fund fed by private companies for years.

Spain’s main rival newspapers, the liberal El Pais and conservative El Mundo flushed the story into the open two weeks ago, revealing excerpts of almost two decades of handwritten accounts that it said were maintained by People’s Party treasurers.

The papers said the accounts showed more than a decade of payments to Rajoy of more than 25,000 euros per year. This has undermined his reputation for honesty.

Former PP treasurer Luis Barcenas stepped down in 2009 when judges began to investigate his possible involvement in alleged illegal payments from builders and other businesses which won government contracts.

A PP source said the allegations, if confirmed, raise serious ethical questions especially because politicians granted large numbers of development contracts during Spain’s building boom.

From the BBC:

9 July 2013 Last updated at 11:22 GMT

Spain Barcenas affair: Documents ‘implicate PM Rajoy’

A Spanish newspaper has published what it alleges are documents showing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other top politicians received illicit payments.

El Mundo said it had original ledger entries handwritten by the former treasurer of the governing Popular Party (PP), Luis Barcenas.

It said it had delivered the documents to the High Court.

Mr Rajoy and other PP members have repeatedly denied that they received illegal payments.

Reminding me of Richard Nixon‘s well-known words: “I am not a crook …”

Another Spanish paper, El Pais, published similar documents earlier this year.

It is claimed that Mr Barcenas ran a PP slush fund that took donations from construction magnates and distributed them to party leaders in cash.

PP statement

Mr Barcenas is in custody facing trial for corruption and tax fraud. He denies the allegations.

However, in an interview published in El Mundo on Sunday, Mr Barcenas for the first time admitted that the handwriting in the ledger was his.

He added that the photocopies originally published by El Pais were a fraction of the documents he had in his possession.

El Mundo said the documents it had seen showed that Mr Rajoy received payments in 1997, 1998 and 1999 when he was a minister in the government of Jose Maria Aznar.

They included, it said, two payments to Mr Rajoy of 2.1m pesetas (12,600 euros; £11,000) in 1998.

The alleged payments are said to have been undeclared and untaxed.

Spanish opposition leader Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba in February called on Mariano Rajoy to resign over the allegations.

“The Luis Barcenas originals published by El Mundo today pulverise the alibi used until now by the PP to deny the authenticity of its ex-treasurer’s papers,” El Mundo said.

This is another twist in possibly the most important corruption scandal to hit modern Spanish politics, says the BBC’s Tom Burridge in Madrid.

The allegations have caused anger among Spaniards already suffering a deep and long recession and biting austerity cuts.

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