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CORRUPTION

Popular Party paid for refit of Madrid headquarters in black money, says judge

Slush fund run by ex-treasurer Luis Bárcenas thought to have paid out a million euros for work

Fernando J. Pérez

High Court Judge Pablo Ruz, who is probing the accounts kept by former treasurer Luis Bárcenas allegedly detailing a parallel accounting system within the Popular Party (PP), suspects that it paid almost a million euros in undeclared cash to refurbish its Madrid headquarters in 2008.

Ruz last Friday ordered a search of the Madrid offices of architect Gonzalo Urquijo after concluding that payments detailed in Bárcenas' ledgers of 880,000 euros that were never declared constitutes tax fraud above the 120,000-euro limit, after which criminal prosecution is a possibility.

On July 15 Bárcenas testified that it was the party's decision to pay Urquijo under the counter: "We had more black money than legitimate funds," he said at the time.

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