PP IN CRISIS

Bárcenas’ funds came from “illicit origins”

Investigators say that former PP treasurer's money did not come from art and real estate as claimed

The paper trail left behind by the ex-Popular Party treasurer Luis Bárcenas has led police investigators to conclude that money he paid into Swiss bank accounts between 2000 and 2008 came from "illicit origins."

Bárcenas has been in the eye of a storm since the end of January, when EL PAÍS first printed ledgers allegedly showing a slush fund he was running for the governing Popular Party (PP). The former senator and PP moneyman is currently in custody, as the investigation into the financing of the party, as well as the millions of euros Bárcenas had squirreled away in offshore bank accounts, continues.

Bárcenas claims that money he held in Swiss accounts did not come from the slush fund, which is alleged to have been created with payments from Spanish businesses, made in exchange for favorable treatment from the PP and the government.

But in their latest report, included in court investigations in the Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts case, police investigators say that the 8.2 million euros in cash that Bárcenas paid into bank accounts abroad did not come from real estate and art sales, as the ex-treasurer has claimed.

Bárcenas added to the said balances with deposits of large amounts of cash that came from illicit origins"

"It can be concluded," reads the report, which was handed over to the High Court on August 12, "that Bárcenas added to the said balances with deposits of large amounts of cash that came from illicit origins. This affirmation is based on the huge increase in the assets of Luis Bárcenas in his Swiss accounts, [and] the absence of a lawful activity that would justify the amounts [...].

Investigators from the money-laundering unit of the Spanish police force say in their report that Bárcenas made radical changes to the way that he managed the assets he held in Switzerland from June 2009 onwards, when he was named as an official suspect in the Gürtel case and the Supreme Court also began to investigate him, given his position as a PP senator for Cantabria.

"[Luis Bárcenas then began] to transfer large sums of money from the accounts of the TESEDUL company to Dresdner Bank and Lombard Odier, in the United States," the document reads.

International money transfers were "an attempt to hide funds with the aim of preventing the Spanish tax authorities from locating them."

The report goes on to explain that the destination for the majority of the funds transferred by Bárcenas was HSBC in New York, "into accounts held by the companies Brixco (three million euros) and La Moraleja (two million euros). These companies were both owned by Ángel Sanchís Herrero, the son of former PP treasurer Ángel Sanchís Perales, who is a close friend of Bárcenas."

The report states that these international money transfers were "an attempt to hide funds with the aim of preventing the Spanish tax authorities from locating them."

Bárcenas claimed the three million euros transferred to Brixco were a loan, the report says, but the ex-treasurer "was unable to provide any documentation to justify the aforementioned arrangement."

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