Ex Treasurer offers to collaborate in slush fund case
People's Party claim they "don't care" what Bárcenas has to say
MadridThroughout the investigation of the Gürtel plot, a veiled threat was repeated: if the justice system sent Luis Bárcenas' wife, Rosalía Iglesias, to prison, the People party's (PP) ex treasurer would "uncover the pot" to implicate the party's heavyweights who had escaped from the courts. And the threat in question would be on the verge of becoming a reality, as El País reports this Tuesday. Bárcenas has offered to collaborate with the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office in exchange for some prison benefits for his wife, who is facing a sentence of almost 13 years in prison. That is, getting exit permits soon and parole in a few months. The lawyers of the People's Party's ex treasurer have already met with the prosecutors to offer them information about the irregular financing of the party, according to the information published by the newspaper. It must be taken into account that, beyond the confirmation of the Gürtel corruption case by the Supreme Court, the case of the PP's slush fund is still being investigated in the High Court.
The party has replied this Tuesday that it "doesn't care at all" what Bárcenas may say to the prosecutors "to save his wife from prison" because, in their opinion, a person who is condemned does "crazy things" and "a lot of stupid things". This is what Ana Vázquez, the PP's shadow home affairs minister, said when asked about the issue on TVE, and she also stressed that the ex treasurer no longer "has anything to do with the PP". "Neither with Pablo Casado nor with the PP in general," she emphasised. And then he diverted attention to the cases of corruption in the Andalusian Socialist Party, recalling the meeting this summer on the beach between the former president of the Junta, Manuel Chaves, "who is condemned for the biggest case of corruption in Andalusia, which is the ERE," and the Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo. She said that Bárcenas should have "collaborated with the justice system from the very beginning" and that, in the same way, the three members of Pedro Sánchez's government who were part of the Andalucian administration during the ERE case in Andalusia - Carmen Calvo, María Jesús Montero and Luis Planas - are also expected to do so.
The pressure cooker of the PP's B box
Despite the fact that the PP's slush fund was proven in the trial of the first period of the Gürtel case, it will be judged in a separate piece in the High Court after years of investigation. In the case, however, no high ranking PP officials are facing charges, while Bárcenas faces another five-year prison sentence at the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office - he is currently serving a sentence of 29 years and one month for the first part of the Gürtel case. Now the ex treasurer says he wants to offer information that he still has. In his statement, he confessed the existence of a slush fund in the PP that he defined as "extra accounting": that is, donations from businessmen to the party in exchange for future public work awards. But there is no evidence to prove it.
High Court Judge José de la Mata maintains that "there is an indicative relation of causality between the donations, the subsequent actions established to have contacts" between Bárcenas and PP authorities and "the relations established" with businessmen. But he will not be putting any member of former Spanish President Mariano Rajoy's PP leadership in the dock. This, however, could change with Bárcenas's collaboration. If so, it would cause a new headache for current PP leader Pablo Casado at a time when the "Kitchen" corruption case, which is also being heard by the National Court in the Villarejo case, is cornering Rajoy. Ex home affairs minister Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz is already facing charges and on Friday will face a judicial face-off with his former number two, José Antonio Nieto.