Rajoy feels no threat from jailed former party moneyman

Prime minister vows to respect court’s verdict in Bárcenas case

Miguel González

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he does not feel threatened by the possibility that his former party treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, might make compromising revelations now that he has been remanded without bail over financial scandals involving tens of millions of euros.

“Not now nor at any other time has that happened,” said the conservative Popular Party (PP) leader at a press conference following the European Council meeting in Brussels on Friday. Declining to answer questions regarding Bárcenas’ innocence — which he defended in 2009 when the treasurer was first implicated in the Gürtel corruption scandal that has blighted the PP — Rajoy chose instead to read out a simple statement: “The only thing I’m going to do is respect the courts’ decisions and say that we will cooperate fully and hope that justice will act swiftly.”

Bárcenas was sent to prison without bail on Thursday and faces a variety of accusations. He was found to have at least 47 million euros stashed away in secret Swiss bank accounts, the origin of which is unclear.

Besides that, Bárcenas is also involved in the Gürtel bribes-for-contracts scandal, which has already brought down leading Popular Party officials, including the former treasurer himself, who was removed from his post in 2009, though he remained on the PP’s payroll for years afterwards.

Additionally, Bárcenas was found to have kept secret ledgers reflecting donations to the PP and payouts to party leaders between 1990 and 2008. The courts are now investigating claims of illegal party funding based on these documents, which EL PAIS revealed on January 31.

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