Lawyer seeks to bring Bárcenas face to face with Rajoy in PP slush fund hearing

Prosecution refutes Casado and denies having leaked the ex-treasurer's confession

3 min
The ex-treasurer of the PP Luis Bárcenas, to the dock of the accused in the trial on the box B

MadridThe PP's ex-treasurer Luis Bárcenas claims that it was ex Spanish president Mariano Rajoy in person who destroyed the documents that proved the existence of the party's slush fund (not knowing he kept a copy). So it is not surprising that in the pre-trial phase, Bárcenas's new lawyer, Gustavo Galán, has insisted the former president appear in court, which was in principle already expected. However, he has gone further and, not waiting to know the ex president's version of the facts, has already advanced that he will request a Bárcenas and Rajoy face to face. Despite claiming he does not want to turn the trial into "a circus", he has hinted this possibility without even having heard Rajoy's account. In his speech, the lawyer has argued that it would be "illogical" not to request the appearance of Rajoy taking into consideration what Bárcenas described in his written confession.

Galán has also denounced that during operation "Kitchen", documents that would prove his story were stolen from him, causing a "deficit" for his credibility. In fact, he has described this manoeuvre as "graver" than the crimes attributed to Bárcenas. The lawyer is also seeking that those who know of the conversation between journalist Francisco Mercado and ex-treasurer Alvaro Lapuerta, in which they spoke of parallel accounting and payments of envelopes to former leaders of the PP, appear in the witness box. Bárcenas noted in his brief that he had heard the recording and now wants to prove what he said with the testimonies of journalists Ernesto Ekaizer, Eduardo Inda and Marisa Gallero.

The ex-treasurer was back in court on Monday for the first session of the PP's slush fund trial, which looks into the payment of works to the party's headquarters with dirty money. The accused are Bárcenas, Cristóbal Páez and three people linked to Unifica, the architecture firm that participated in the works. In addition, the PP is accused as a subsidiary civil liability.

The Prosecutor's Office makes light of Bárcenas's statement

The Prosecutor's Office, which defends itself from the accusations of the PP and denies having leaked Bárcenas's confession to the media in the middle of the election campaign in Catalonia. The leader of the opposition in the State, Pablo Casado, wanted to refute the ex-treasurer's accusations and attacked the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, and the public prosecutor. Casado speculated the elaboration and leakage of Bárcenas's confession had been agreed. In an interview on Monday to Onda Cero, Casado has indirectly admitted that he had no proof of his thesis - he has said that it would not be the first time that the Prosecutor's Office manoeuvres in favour of the Socialist party - and the Prosecutor's Office has wanted to refute the accusations.

"The document, signed by Luis Bárcenas, entered the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office last February 2, 2021 [Tuesday] and has been treated confidentially, without being delivered or disclosed to the media. The letter was brought to the attention of the Attorney General of the State on February 4, 2021 [Thursday] - says the public ministry in a press release-. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has not addressed Luis Bárcenas at any time seeking collaboration or confession in any of the proceedings in which this Prosecutor's Office intervenes, nor has it done so in the past with the rest of the accused or investigated in the different pieces already concluded or pending conclusion in the so-called Gürtel case," it adds.

Beyond this, the Prosecutor's Office stresses that there is little new in the content of Bárcenas's confession and there is "nothing substantial", both in the trial that began this Monday at the High Court and in the other investigations, pending what he can declare or provide in terms of documentation.