Bárcenas case

Bárcenas: “J. M.” ordered PP bonuses

Former party treasurer turns over pen drive documenting cash payments

Luis Bárcenas, the jailed former Popular Party (PP) treasurer, has testified before the High Court that he received instructions from a PP official to pay bonus money to party workers including a top advisor to former Prime Minister José María Aznar, according to a transcript obtained by EL PAÍS.

In a July 16 appearance before Judge Pablo Ruz, Bárcenas turned over a pen drive with information taken from a PP computer that allegedly includes instructions from an official with the initials "J. M." indicating who should get under-the-table payments as far back as 1993. In a folder contained in the drive two payments are recorded: 350,000 pesetas to José M. Orti, then the PP spokesman in the Senate, and one for one million pesetas to "Pedro," who is reportedly Pedro Arriola, Aznar's former electoral advisor.

Bárcenas has been held in preventive custody since early last month when Judge Ruz ruled that he was a flight risk. He is facing multiple charges including tax evasion and fraud stemming from the close-to 40 million euros he has held in Swiss bank accounts.

The judge is also investigating a set of ledgers he kept while serving as PP finance manager and then treasurer that show payouts from a slush fund to top party officials, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, over almost two decades. Rajoy has denied that he received any illegal money.

The High Court has documented all of the folders taken from the pen drive that Bárcenas handed over at his last appearance there. Because the judge didn't have the information, he couldn't say who "J. M." was or whether the initials referred to Aznar.

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