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PP'S HIDDEN FINANCES

De Cospedal insists that PP moneyman not an employee since 2010

Secretary general claims that Bárcenas was receiving a “simulation” salary until January of this year

Francesco Manetto

Popular Party (PP) secretary general María Dolores de Cospedal on Monday tried to defend why former treasurer Luis Bárcenas was still being paid by her party up until January.

As Bárcenas was being called before the High Court to explain the money he had stashed in Switzerland, De Cospedal explained to reporters that he was receiving money as part of a payout agreed with him when he stepped down as treasurer in 2010 after being targeted in the Gürtel political corruption probe.

“In relation to the past treasurer, I want it to be clear that he stopped working for the party in April 2010,” she said, without mentioning Bárcenas by name.

Yet, government records show that the PP also continued to pay his social security and deduct income tax from these earnings, which would be an irregular practice if, indeed, it was merely compensation he was being paid.

“The compensation that was agreed upon, which was a simulation of what had been his prior salary, had to include social security deductions… And that is the way it was agreed upon,” she said. “Everyone knows that Bárcenas has not been working since 2010.”

The compensation that was agreed upon had to include social security deductions"

Labor Ministry records reflect that he had an indefinite contract with the PP from 2010 to 2013. On January 31, he voluntarily resigned just days after it was made public that investigators found that he had been keeping millions of euros in Switzerland.

It also occurred on the same day that EL PAÍS published balance sheets prepared by Bárcenas as PP treasurer which lists bonus payments allegedly given to leading party officials on top of their regular salaries. The money came from a slush fund that appears to have been created through cash donations made by companies and businessmen.

“There is nothing to hide. One can either see the agreement as either bad or good, but that is the way it was done,” said De Cospedal on Monday.

“It wasn’t the interest of this party to hide any data because at that time the Socialists were in power.” Asked about a promised external audit of the PP’s finances, De Cospedal said that it was proving difficult to find a company that was willing to perform the task.

Last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría declined to comment about payments made to Bárcenas.

De Cospedal announced that this week the party will be filing complaints with the courts against those who have disseminated the balance sheets or made allegations that a slush fund had been created to hand out bonuses. The PP official, who is listed on the balance sheets as having received money, has already said she would file lawsuits against EL PAÍS and Bárcenas on her own account.

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