Spanish paper publishes ‘proof’ of illicit payments to politicians

El Mundo claims handwritten ledger entries show transactions from slush fund operated by ruling People’s Party

El Mundo has published copies of handwritten ledger entries which they say show Spanish politicians, including prime minister Mariano Rajoy, received payments from an illicit slush fund.  Javier Barbancho/Reuters

El Mundo has published copies of handwritten ledger entries which they say show Spanish politicians, including prime minister Mariano Rajoy, received payments from an illicit slush fund. Javier Barbancho/Reuters

Tue, Jul 9, 2013, 17:50

Spain’s El Mundo newspaper has delivered to the High Court what it said were original handwritten ledger entries showing payments from an illicit slush fund operated by the ruling People’s Party, the paper said today.

Leading PP members, including prime minister Mariano Rajoy, received payments from the fund, the newspaper said, publishing colour photocopies of the ledger operated by former PP treasurer Luis Barcenas.

In January, El Pais published photocopied extracts from the same ledger, sparking protests about political corruption and angering Spaniards suffering the effects of a long-running recession, high unemployment and spending cuts.

The PP said today no one at the party had received illicit payments. A government spokeswoman reiterated denials that party members had ever received illegal cash.

Prime minister Rajoy and party members have repeatedly denied that they received illegal money.

The paper did not say how it had got its hands on the documents it delivered yesterday, but the paper’s editor, Pedro Ramirez, published on Sunday an interview with Barcenas, conducted a few days before he was remanded in custody last month as the High Court continues a pre-trial investigation into corruption charges against him.

Mr Barcenas is under investigation by a High Court judge for allegedly running a PP slush fund that took donations from construction magnates and distributed them to party leaders in cash.

Mr Barcenas, who had previously denied the handwriting in the ledger was his, said in Sunday’s El Mundo interview that he had lied and it was his writing, adding the photocopies published by El Pais newspaper were a fraction of the documents he had detailing the illegal financing of the party.

Barcenas is also charged with money laundering, bribery, tax fraud and other crimes in a separate investigation into a group of businessmen suspected of putting on campaign rallies for the PP in exchange for kickbacks.

Judge Pablo Ruz ordered Barcenas detained because he said the former treasurer - who worked for the PP for nearly three decades - was a flight risk and could pressure witnesses or destroy evidence.

Reuters