Corruption
Politics 24/03/2021

Rajoy explodes against Bárcenas: "What we are going through is a disgrace".

Former Spanish president and his predecessor, Aznar, strongly deny the existence of the PP's slush fund

4 min
Rejoy during his statement

San Fernando de HenaresIt was imaginable that Mariano Rajoy would deny the existence of the PP's slush fund - he already did so in 2017 in his appearance at the Gürtel trial that ended his political career - but no less expected was that he would respond to the accusations of former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas, obsessed with implicating the Spanish ex-president. "What we are going through is a disgrace," Rajoy exploded in his statement at the trial of what he has wanted to call Mr. Bárcenas's Papers, rather than The PP's Papers, preferred by the former treasurer. Rajoy has maintained silence until Wednesday, when he has denied using dirty money for party purposes. He has used words like "delirium" and "surrealism" and, as a culmination of the statements of the main former leaders of the PP, has portrayed Bárcenas as a person cornered by justice seeking revenge without evidence.

"Absolutely false" has been the formula most used by Rajoy until he has allowed himself the license to offer a long answer to one of the accusations. "You have taken for granted the existence of a slush fund. But in 40 years of militancy in the PP I have not heard any leader, militant or employee speak of the slush fund to which you refer. And in this trial there have been former secretaries, employees, managers, accountants and none of them have affirmed the existence of a "slush fund" in the PP. Therefore, I insist that there is none. There might be in Mr. Bárcenas's papers, but that he will have to explain himself. To me he has not given me any parallel accounting files because the first time I saw them was when they were published in the press and, therefore, it is metaphysically impossible for me to try to destroy them," he said

From this moment, Rajoy has abandoned the short answers and redoubled his accusations against Bárcenas. "First he said he had given me the papers and then a photocopy of the last sheet. He does not even agree with himself because one day he says one thing and another the opposite," he continued. "The one who I think has changed the papers is Bárcenas himself," reiterated Rajoy, who has branded as "insane" hypothesis that the PP tried to bribe him to modify them. The former treasurer said in his statement in the trial.

Lawyers of the accusations have given opportunities to the witness to vent and he has taken advantage of them. "95% of the people mentioned have stated that what is said is false," he has repeated almost a dozen times, after on Tuesday the former Secretary General Maria Dolores de Cospedal used almost the same words, as did his predecessors in office. Other people, such as former PP deputies Eugenio Nasarre and Jaime Ignacio de Burgo, however, did recognise the collection of envelopes

Rajoy has reiterated that Bárcenas's annotations are as false as can be and that they are "lies", and has sent a warning to the court. "You use Mr. Barcenas as an argument of authority and this is very dangerous," said the former Spanish president. The witness has not only wanted to affect the oral trial, but has also launched a message in the world of politics that he left almost three years ago. "There are people who will persevere in pointing with political purposes to things that are not true," Rajoy has left said, in an implicit attack on PSOE and the left-wing formations that accuse the PP of being corrupt because of the slush fund.

Aznar also denies parallel accounting

Rajoy's appearance has been preceded by that of the also former president of the Spanish government and of the PP José María Aznar, who has testified for the first time in judicial headquarters about the corruption of the party. He had done so in Congress as part of the enquiry into the alleged irregular financing of the PP and then said that "until proven otherwise", he would continue to maintain that there was no slush fund. Does he maintain it? "Totally," he replied on Wednesday, despite the fact that the National Court and the Supreme Court have considered it proven it in their judgements on the first period of the Gürtel.

Aznar has refuted one of the witnesses who on Tuesday attributed to him the authorisation of a payment to a former Navarre councillor who had assumed electoral expenses. "I never authorised payments or compensation because I had no powers," said the former president of the PP, who has declared from the office of his home wearing a mask. A detail that has aroused the curiosity of the lawyer of the Observatorio DESC, Gonzalo Boye, whom Aznar has quickly identified as Carles Puigdemont's lawyer. The president of the court, José Antonio Mora, has censured the former president's comment and, later, Boye's inquiry as to why the former president was hiding behind a mask.

Aznar said it was due to the sanitary recommendations, the same ones that have allowed both him and Rajoy to declare by videocall and caused the courtroom to be soulless. Despite asking to physically attend the sessions that seemed most relevant, not even Bárcenas has come to listen to Rajoy, with whom he requested a confrontation in the first session of trial predicting that his thesis would be opposed to his. And so it has been.

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