Artist reveals how she helped ex-PP treasurer launder funds

Argentinean painter admits signing false contracts on art sales so that Luis Bárcenas’ wife could explain source of deposits

The Argentinean painter Isabel Mackinlay on Wednesday revealed her part in helping the former treasurer of the ruling Popular Party (PP) to allegedly launder 560,000 euros, which he claims was obtained from the sale of four paintings, judicial sources said Wednesday.

Speaking from Buenos Aires, Mackinlay told the judge investigating secret ledgers kept by Bárcenas — which include illegal donations and cash payments made to top PP officials — that Edgar Patricio Bell, ultimately a frontman for Bárcenas, gave her $1,500 to sign false contracts on the sale of works of art. In exchange for the payment, Mackinlay agreed to pass herself off as an intermediary between Bárcenas' wife, Rosalía Iglesias — the supposed seller — and an unknown buyer. This allowed Iglesias to deposit 560,000 euros in her bank account that in reality belonged to her husband.

The judicial sources said Bell got in touch with her because his nephew and the son of the painter went to the same school in Buenos Aires.

The fictitious sale of the paintings was carried out in two phases. The first contract signed in Bell's office in Buenos Aires involved the sale of two 16th-century paintings by an unattributed author for which Mackinlay received $1,000.

Mackinlay said Bell later got in touch with her again and asked her to sign a new contract removing the two 16th-century paintings and replacing them with another painting for which she received a further $500.

Bárcenas worked in the PP’s financial office for almost 20 years. The party said he had been removed from his post as treasurer in 2010 with the onset of the Gürtel kickbacks scandal. But it has since emerged that the PP was still paying him regular amounts and his Social Security contributions until January of this year.


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