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article imageSpain's Luis Bárcenas: 'I made cash payments to Spanish PM'

By Anne Sewell     Jul 16, 2013 in World
Madrid - According to judicial sources, on Monday Luis Bárcenas, former treasurer of Spain's ruling Partido Popular (PP) party, told the court that he had given secret cash payments to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy from a "slush fund."
Digital Journal reported on the arrest and jailing of the Partido Popular's ex-treasurer Luis Bárcenas recently, with no bail, as he had failed to adequately explain the money he held in Swiss bank accounts. Bárcenas was arrested and jailed after the court ruled that he was a flight risk.
Digital Journal further reported back in January on the major "slush fund" scandal that had emerged in Spain, where the ruling PP and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy denied that the party made payments from business donors to the PM and other party leaders.
Now as the court case runs in Spain's High Court, various statements are coming out which directly implicate members of government.
According to sources present at the hearing, who asked to remain anonymous, Bárcenas said on Monday that he handed €25,000 ($33,000) in 500 euro notes to Rajoy in March 2010.
One of the sources then told the media that Bárcenas then reportedly handed the court papers detailing this slush fund, and "declared that he was the author of the documents," which had been published in local newspapers showing secret payments to Rajoy in the 1990's and 2000's.
Yet another of the sources attending the hearing said that Bárcenas had confirmed that the money came from a secret fund, which implies that the payments were undeclared.
The source stressed, "He said the whole party leadership received envelopes" of undeclared cash.
On Monday, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the leader of the opposition PSOE party has called for the “immediate resignation” of Mr. Rajoy, and has warned that his refusal to stand down was causing “incalculable damage to a country that is living through difficult moments.”
Rajoy, who has been in power since late 2011, has, however, ruled out resigning over the scandal. He denies any wrongdoing.
The latest attacks by the opposition come following the publication of several mobile phone text messages between Rajoy and Bárcenas, which were obtained by the Spanish daily El Mundo. These messages show that the two men were in contact until at least March this year, which is almost two months after the scandal broke.
In the last message published by El Mundo, Rajoy was apparently trying to calm down his former treasurer, saying: “Luis, I understand. Keep courage. I will call you tomorrow. A hug.”
While these text messages do not prove the issue at hand, they do implicate the prime minister in the scandal.
More about Spain, luis barcenas, Court, Prime minister, Mariano Rajoy
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