A Toledo judge on Thursday threw out a lawsuit filed by Popular Party (PP) secretary general María Dolores de Cospedal against the organization’s former treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, ruling that there was not “sufficient” evidence to show that he had defamed her in revelations that she and others received cash bonuses on top of their regular salaries.
In his decision, Judge Jesús Yunta also said that he found no indications that it was Bárcenas who gave the information contained in a series of ledgers to EL PAÍS, which published the accounting books on January 31.
“There is not sufficient proof that Mr Bárcenas was the person behind the alleged defamation campaign,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
De Cospedal, who also serves as regional premier of Castilla-La Mancha, filed the defamation lawsuit against the now-jailed former treasurer seeking 100,000 euros after the so-called “Bárcenas papers” were published by EL PAÍS. At a hearing in October, Bárcenas told the Toledo courtroom through a videoconference call that he gave some 7,500 euros to De Cospedal from a slush fund.
“It was my hand that gave the envelope to Mrs Cospedal,” he said from Madrid’s Soto del Real prison, where he is being held in preventive custody as he faces money-laundering and tax fraud charges.
Following that hearing, De Cospedal dropped a lawsuit she had filed against EL PAÍS but kept the complaint against the former treasurer.
At the hearing, EL PAÍS editor Javier Moreno refused to reveal the source that gave the ledgers to the newspaper, but emphatically denied that it had been Bárcenas.