PP'S CORRUPTION AFFAIR

Tax agency report: Bárcenas fraud amounts to €11.5 million

Former PP treasurer defrauded public coffers of more than 120,000 for 11 straight fiscal years

An extensive report carried out by Tax Agency inspectors at the request of the judge investigating the massive Gürtel corruption scandal concludes that former Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas defrauded the state of some 11.5 million euros between 2000 and 2011 in income and asset declarations.

Bárcenas, who is in preventive custody on suspicion of operating a parallel accounting system when he served as PP treasurer between 2008 and 2010, which allegedly encompassed illegal donations from companies linked to Gürtel and off-the-books cash payments to top PP officials, defrauded the public coffers of more than 120,000 thousand euros in each of the fiscal years in question, according to the report. That figure is the minimum limit for a case of tax fraud to be treated as a crime.

The inspectors examined bank accounts held by Bárcenas in Switzerland, with deposits totaling 48.2 million euros. Bárcenas’ wife, Rosalía Iglesias, also stands accused of financial crimes. Curiously, Bárcenas’ personal tax declarations for the period always resulted in a rebate.

In 2012, the former PP senator took advantage of a government amnesty to declare more than 10 million euros of assets held in a company in his name in Uruguay, but the inspectors believe this was also a fraudulent action as he should have declared 21.98 million. Furthermore, the agency stated that the maneuver is invalid because Bárcenas had already been named as an official suspect in the Gürtel inquiry.

If found guilty of tax evasion, Spanish law allows for a fine of up to six times the amount defrauded, meaning Bárcenas and Iglesias could have to return 69 million euros. The couple’s assets were seized last year after they were ordered to pay a 43-million-euro civil liability bond.

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