Opposition parties challenge PM to face Congress over Bárcenas scandal
“Mariano Rajoy needs to come out and tell Spaniards the truth about the PP’s accounts,” says Socialist leader Rubalcaba
The main opposition parties on Friday called on Mariano Rajoy to make an "immediate" appearance in Congress to explain the alleged illicit activities of former Popular Party (PP) treasurer, Luis Bárcenas. Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro was also challenged by the Socialists, who described him as "not up to the job."
The former PP treasurer stands accused of siphoning 22 million euros to Swiss bank accounts during his time in office and of topping up the salaries of party officials with under-the-counter payments.
"Mariano Rajoy needs to come out and tell Spaniards the truth about the PP's accounts. Now. Better today than tomorrow," said Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, who warned that the matter was "extremely serious." Rubalcaba also decried a war of words between the tax agency and Bárcenas' lawyer over whether or not the politician had taken advantage of a tax amnesty last year to regularize some of his funds. The tax authorities vehemently denied this.
"If it is proven that Bárcenas used this amnesty to launder undeclared income, Montoro must resign immediately," Rubalcaba said. "Ever since the government announced the amnesty we have said it opened the door to criminals and fraudsters. What we never imagined was that this back door would be used by the former treasurer of the PP."
United Left leader Cayo Lara joined the clamor for the PM to appear. "Rajoy must show his face and do a lot of explaining," he said.