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July 16, 2013

Spanish PM named in ruling party’s accounting scandal

The former accountant of the Spanish ruling party Partido Popular (PP) has said the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was part of a corruption scheme allegedly designed to finance the PP thorough kickbacks paid by companies in exchange for political favours.

PP’s former accountant Luis Bárcenas is currently being tried for money laundering and fraud in a court case known as ‘Gürtel’ aimed at investigating the alleged illegal financing of Spain’s ruling party.

Bárcenas, who was able to amass an untaxed €47m (£40.6m) deposited in Swiss bank accounts, said in court: "I paid €25,000 to Rajoy and Cospedal [PP’s secretary general] in €500 bank notes in 2010," El País newspaper reported.

In January El País published evidence of secret manual bookkeeping in which Bárcenas recorded all payments and donations allegedly made by businessmen in order to get the upper hand when bidding for public contract tenders.

So far Bárcenas has denied the allegations but yesterday he admitted being the author of the records published by El País in January and handed the court fresh evidence of alleged illegal payments dating back from 1994, 1995 and 1996.

Rajoy, who denied the accusations and announced he will not resign, said: "It makes no sense to ask a Prime Minister to refute day in, day out every single report published [on the subject]. The rule of law cannot be compromised and this government will cooperate with the judicial authorities."

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