The government on Friday sought to convey a message of self-confidence while preparing for the possibility of more dramatic revelations by former ruling Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas, now in jail awaiting trial for tax fraud and other crimes.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s “honesty” was underscored on Friday by Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, following a Cabinet meeting. Rajoy has denied receiving cash payments from Bárcenas.
“Of course the head of government has the support and trust of his entire team, we’ve all worked with him for many years and we know about his honesty on this point and all other points,” she added.
On Thursday the PP used its absolute majority to stonewall the opposition’s attempts to force Rajoy to enlighten Congress about allegations that he and other party officials accepted undeclared cash bonuses.
These claims emerged from secret ledgers kept by Bárcenas and published by EL PAÍS in January, showing scores of party donations that went over the legal limit, as well as cash payments to top PP officials.
But this is just one of the murky affairs that the former treasurer is involved in. Once a party strongman, Bárcenas officially fell from grace in 2009 due to his alleged involvement in Gürtel, a major kickbacks-for-contracts scheme.
Additionally, investigators have uncovered bank accounts in Switzerland with up to 47 million euros whose origin is unclear. This week, five other secret deposits have emerged in Caixabank.