PP'S HIDDEN FINANCES

PP on Bárcenas case: “There is interest in destabilizing party”

Ex-treasurer's wife has assets embargoed after she fails to meet six-million-euro civil liability bond as part of Gürtel inquiry

The secretary of the ruling Popular Party (PP), María Dolores de Cospedal, has called on party leaders not to get involved in arguments over the “lies and false accusations” relating to the Bárcenas affair, warning that “there is a lot of interest in destabilizing the party.”

Speaking to the press after a meeting of party leaders following the summer break on Monday, the PP number two deflected questions about the High Court investigation into alleged illegal financing and backhand payments to top PP officials.

“I have already said everything I had to say before the judge; I did it with the truth in mind and I have nothing else to add,” she said, referring to her appearance before investigating Judge Pablo Ruz to answer questions on the case.

Cospedal wanted to make clear the position that the party needs to adopt in relation to the Bárcenas case, and all the news that continues to emerge in the ongoing High Court probe.

“There is a lot of interest in destabilizing the party,” she said. “But this issue cannot be the only image of the PP.”

De Cospedal also dismissed reports in the daily El Mundo that she agreed a settlement with Bárcenas after the ledgers showing the alleged financial irregularities were published as “completely false” and categorized the news story as “libel.”

Assets seized

The High Court on Monday ordered the embargo of several assets belonging to Rosalía Iglesias, the wife of former Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas, who remains in preventive custody as the investigation into alleged illegal financing of the PP and cash payments made to top officials, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, unfolds.

The assets seized by the court to cover the six-million-euro civil liability bond imposed on Iglesias include bank accounts, shares and financial products in her name, a private pension fund, a property in Marbella, 50 percent of another in Baqueira, two parking spaces in Madrid and a Smart car. Iglesias was due in court last week for a hearing but did not attend, stating she could not meet the bond. Judge Pablo Ruz issued the embargo order on July 31, a day after ordering the seizure of Bárcenas’ assets after the former PP senator failed to pay a 43.2-million-euro bond imposed on him.

Iglesias presented the court with a list of her assets on August 30, and now has three days to hand them over to authorities. The civil bond was imposed to cover any eventual liability stemming from a series of charges she may face as part of the Gürtel corruption inquiry into a system of irregularly awarded public contracts on the part of PP administrations in exchange for bribes. Iglesias stands accused of tax fraud, collusion in money laundering in league with Bárcenas, falsifying documents and failing to cooperate with investigators.