High Court will question Popular Party officials on cash bonuses

Senate speaker to testify in connection with payouts listed on ex-party treasurer’s secret ledgers

High Court investigators are expected to question Senate Speaker Pío García Escudero today about the 6,000 euros in payments he received from the Popular Party (PP) as part of a loan to fix his home in 2000 after it had been damaged by an ETA bomb. High Court Judge Pablo Ruz, who is investigating accounting records compiled by former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas, is honing in on six party officials who reportedly got cash bonuses from the organization over the course of several years.

García Escudero, whose name appears in Bárcenas's books, explained that he received money from the PP leadership as part of a loan to fix his home, which was damaged by a car bomb that was placed in his Madrid neighborhood.

Judge Ruz is also expected to take statements from current and former PP officials Jaime Ignacio del Burgo, Santiago Abascal, Eugenio Nasarre, Calixto Ayesa and Jaume Matas. All but Matas have publicly acknowledged receiving payments from the PP.

Del Burgo told a notary that he received some 3,000 euros from the PP to help a terrorist victim and there is no record of that cash delivery.

Ayesa, a former health commissioner in Navarre, for his part, said that he received 23,490 euros to compensate for money he lost in closing his medical practice when he entered public service.

As part of his investigation, Judge Ruz is trying to determine the origins of the money that made up such payments in Bárcenas's ledgers. The former PP treasurer is under investigation for several alleged crimes, including tax evasion.


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