High Court Judge Pablo Ruz has ordered the search of a Madrid branch of lender Bankia in order to locate documents relating to a series of transactions carried out by Rosalía Iglesias, who is the wife of disgraced former Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas.
The Ruz-led investigation into the so-called Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts network, which has ensnared many leading members of the governing PP, had previously requested information about the operations from the bank but received a negative response. “Owing to the time elapsed, we no longer retain said information,” the bank replied.
Ruz said there was a “lack of congruence between the explanations offered by the bank” to justify its failure to deliver the documents, which relate to cash and check deposits totaling €649,000 made in 2005 and 2006, and the fact it had been able to deliver documents relating to older transactions.
Given the lack of response, Judge Ruz decided to order a search of the bank, situated at number 32, Príncipe de Vergara street in Madrid, to try to find the documents. He said the information was of particular significance in terms of “determining both the origin and destination of the funds deposited in the accounts of official suspects Rosalía Iglesias Villar and Luis Bárcenas Gutiérrez.”
Bárcenas has been in preventive custody in a Madrid prison for the past nine months, where he is facing multiple charges including tax evasion and fraud stemming from tens of millions euros he held in several offshore bank accounts. Iglesias is also being investigated for financial crimes in the case.
In addition, Judge Ruz is investigating a set of ledgers Bárcenas kept while serving as PP treasurer that show payouts from a slush fund to top party officials, including Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, over the period of almost two decades. Rajoy has denied claims that he has ever received any undeclared funds.