Spanish prime minister’s corruption update

This video says about itself:

Spanish demonstrations over alleged corruption

10 July 2013

On the streets of Madrid there has been a clear message to Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “Go to jail,” chanted hundreds of protesters in the wake of fresh allegations of corruption in the ruling People’s Party.

Spain’s second largest daily newspaper El Mundo

a conservative, usually pro-People’s Party paper

which has played a key role in uncovering other scandals has published what it says are original documents showing payments from an illicit slush fund operated by the PP.

“We are in an unsustainable situation, at our limit. We are being ruled by a delinquent government, supported by criminal structure which is the party and consequently we are in a corrupt system that cannot take it anymore,” said one of the protesters.

Another added, “We have over six million out of work, we have a massive brain drain, we have an excess of qualified people at universities who must emigrate and we can’t take that anymore.”

The documents published in El Mundo show the name of Mariano Rajoy and two payments of 12,600 euros. El Mundo has handed them over to the High Court.

The ledger was reportedly operated by former party treasurer Luis Barcenas. He is being held in custody in a separate corruption case accused of tax fraud and receiving illegal payments.

From AFP news agency:

Spain’s ruling party ran secret fund for 18 years, investigating judge finds

National court clears way for trial of former People’s party treasurer Luis Barcenas over claims of corruption that have also engulfed PM Mariano Rajoy

Monday 23 March 2015 19.21 GMT

A judge has found that Spain’s ruling party ran a secret slush fund for 18 years, reviving a corruption scandal that has embarrassed the government ahead of a general election.

Investigating judge Pablo Ruz of the national court cleared the way for the trial of the lead suspect in the case: the People’s party’s (PP) ex-treasurer Luis Barcenas, a former ally of conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

Ruz gathered evidence that the party “from 1990 to at least 2008 drew on various sources of funding outside of the legal economic sphere”, his tribunal said in a statement.

“This allowed it to function, at least during the 18 years under investigation, with various systems of accounts which registered deposits and withdrawals of money outside of the official accounts declared” to financial authorities.

Ruz called for Barcenas to stand trial on charges of tax fraud and embezzlement and referred the case to state prosecutors.

The Barcenas scandal erupted in 2013 just as Rajoy’s government was fighting to drag the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy out of an economic crisis.

The prime minister admitted he made a mistake in trusting Barcenas but resisted calls to resign.

The affair originated in 2009 as a judicial investigation into alleged kickbacks involving members of the PP and construction companies.

It exploded when leading daily El Pais published copies of account ledgers purportedly showing irregular payments to top party members including Rajoy, its leader since 2004.

In July 2013 Barcenas testified in court that he handed cash to Rajoy.

The prime minister and other senior party members denied receiving any undeclared payments and kicked Barcenas out of the party.

El Mundo newspaper later published what it said were text messages Rajoy sent to Barcenas in which he urged the former treasurer to “be strong” in the face of the scandal.

The judge on Monday also called for five other suspects to stand trial, including another former PP treasurer and members of a construction firm, Unifica.

He dropped charges against 22 other suspects.

The allegations sparked outrage among ordinary Spaniards struggling with spending cuts that Rajoy had imposed during a deep recession.

Spain will hold a series of local and regional polls over the coming months followed by a general election around November.

Recent opinion polls have shown corruption to be one of voters’ top concerns.

New political parties such as Podemos and Ciudadanos have surged in the polls, campaigning with vows to get rid of what they brand a corrupt political elite.

Rajoy apologised in parliament in October last year for another scandal over an alleged kickback scheme implicating members of his party.

Separately, another PP stalwart, former International Monetary Fund head Rodrigo Rato, is also under investigation by the court over alleged fraud.

“I understand that Spaniards are fed up and outraged,” Rajoy told parliament in October.

“This behaviour is especially hurtful when Spaniards have had to endure so many sacrifices to get our country out of the economic crisis.”

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