High Court Judge Pablo Ruz has called former Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas to appear before him next Monday to answer questions about new revelations he made regarding the alleged illegal financing of the party, which were published in El Mundoat the weekend.
In the article, the PP's ex-purser, who has been in preventive custody for the past two weeks, provided details of payments to the party made by businessmen in exchange for contracts from PP-run administrations. He also alleged that prime minister and PP leader Mariano Rajoy had been fully aware of the party's financing system. El Mundo editor Pedro J. Ramírez has also been summoned to give evidence.
The decision came on the same day that Ruz gave Bárcenas three days to find a new lawyer after his previous defense team abandoned his case because of a difference of opinion over strategy following the weekend's revelations. If he fails to find someone within the deadline, Ruz will appoint a public defender for him.
Bárcenas alleged that Mariano Rajoy was fully aware of the party's financing system"
Also on Wednesday, opposition parties, including the Socialists (PSOE), the Plural Left group and the CiU Catalan nationalist bloc, abandoned the parliamentary committee studying a new transparency law after the president of the constitutional committee, Arturo García Tizón of the PP, refused a request to postpone it in the wake of the revelations. Tuesday's request by the PSOE noted it was impossible to talk about transparency when the "shadows of suspicion were hanging over the prime minister."
The Socialists, the Plural Left and the Mixed Group have called on Rajoy to answer questions in Congress on Bárcenas' latest accusations - something the PP is planning to use its overall majority to prevent him from doing until mid-September.