POLITICAL CORRUPTION

Prosecutors will not probe destruction of PP treasurer’s hard disks

Camera used to film Bárcenas in jail found by authorities as TV channel is accused of “frivolity” by Interior Ministry

Anticorruption prosecutors have decided not to investigate the destruction of the hard disks inside two computers used by former Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas while he was employed by the governing party, judicial sources confirmed.

In a report presented to Judge Pablo Ruz, who is investigating an alleged parallel accounting system of illegal donations and cash bonuses to top party officials within the PP spanning two decades, prosecutors said that opening a case would not benefit the investigation and would only delay its conclusion.

The computers used by Bárcenas at the PP’s headquarters in Madrid were delivered to the High Court on August 16 at Ruz’s behest. Bárcenas told the judge during testimony that a pen drive he had provided to the court with supposed evidence was a copy of the originals stored in the machines.

However, when the computers were examined one had no hard drive at all and the other contained a replacement.

Camera in a condom

Meanwhile, Bárcenas’ lawyer has asked that the governor of the Soto del Real prison where his client has been in preventive custody since June 27, and the director of the national penitentiary service give evidence over video recordings of the former senator that were broadcast on television this week.

Authorities at the jail said Wednesday they believed they had found the camera used to film Bárcenas during a cell search, a procedure which has been used more extensively due to the high-profile inmate. The eight-gigabyte micro-camera was found in a trash can wrapped in a condom.

The Interior Ministry accused television station La Sexta of “frivolity” for broadcasting the footage, which “infringed on the privacy of the inmate and his family.”

Prison workers had anticipated that images of Bárcenas’ daily routine would be attractive to certain parties. “It was a matter of time until someone managed it,” said a guard at Soto del Real. The footage, taken over several days, looks like a documentary so it was probably a made-to-order job on the part of an inmate or for someone on the outside. Although searches are always carried out without warning it is impossible to search everyone at once and so when word gets around prisoners with contraband — drugs, cellphones and other banned items — have time to get rid of them.”

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