THE PP’S HIDDEN FINANCES

Judge demands Popular Party reveal all payments to third parties

Ruling conservatives must provide data on finances between 1990 and 2005, as well as data on contacts with corporate donors

An investigating judge has requested new information on dozens of companies and business leaders in connection with the “Bárcenas papers,” secret ledgers kept by the former treasurer of the ruling Popular Party (PP) that suggest illegal party funding and cash bonuses for party chiefs in exchange for government contracts.

The data demanded by Judge Pablo Ruz includes all payments made by third parties to the PP between 1990 and 2005, with a special focus on some 30 companies which must provide details about their every financial transaction. All of these firms show up in the handwritten accounts kept by Luis Bárcenas and published by EL PAÍS on January 31.

These documents, whose authenticity has been verified by police and handwriting experts, show donations that went over the legal limit of 60,000 euros; also, many donors were builders or developers who were simultaneously getting government contracts, a conflict of interest that is forbidden by law. There are single contributions of up to 250,000 euros, and the legal limit was surpassed on more than 30 occasions.

Judge Ruz has also given the security chief at PP headquarters in Madrid 10 days to come up with detailed information, down to the hour, of any visits made to the building between 2001 and 2008 by eight businesspeople who show up as donors in the Bárcenas papers. These include executives from the leading building companies FCC and Sacyr Vallehermoso. FCC’s José María Mayor Oreja (the brother of former PP minister Jaime Mayor Oreja) has already admitted that he donated money through subsidiaries to bypass the ban on donations by government contractors.

Additionally, the judge wants the PP to hand over all information pertaining to its so-called “entertainment expenses,” to see whether cash bonuses to party leaders were disguised as expenses in the official accounts.

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