the pp's hidden finances

Detectives hired to tail “walking time bomb” Bárcenas in 2011

Barcelona detective agency brought in as PP officials realized that former treasurer was a threat

Luis Bárcenas, the former treasurer of the Popular Party (PP), was the target of an investigation by detectives who monitored his phone calls in the early part of 2011, records obtained by EL PAÍS show.

The private detectives that tailed Bárcenas were from Método 3, the now-defunct Barcelona-based agency whose owner, Francisco Marco, is being investigated for recording a conversation in 2010 between Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, the head of the PP in Catalonia (PPC), and an ex-girlfriend of one of the sons of Jordi Pujol, a former regional premier.

Bárcenas, a former PP senator, is engaged in a bitter legal battle with party officials who he claims unfairly dismissed him in January. PP secretary general María Dolores de Cospedal has filed a countersuit against him and EL PAÍS over account ledgers, which appear to show that she and other officials received bonuses from a reported slush fund.

According to PP sources, the party knew that Bárcenas was "a walking time bomb." He had reportedly threatened party officials with revealing irregularities because he felt they had left him out in the cold in 2009, when he was ensnared in the massive Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts inquiry. Bárcenas resigned as treasurer the following year but reportedly stayed on as a consultant, drawing a salary despite De Cospedal's public assurances that the money he received was actually severance pay.

According to the telephone records compiled by detectives, most of the phone calls made by Bárcenas when he was being trailed were to his office at PP headquarters. He also made frequent calls to former treasurer Álvaro Lapuerta and Ángel Sanchís, who reportedly helped him manage his secret Swiss accounts.

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