Bárcenas confirms allegations of illegal financing of Spain's PP to El Mundo's director
In its Sunday print edition, El Mundo published an article by director Pedro J Ramírez based on a conversation with former treasurer of the ruling PP, Luis Bárcenas, who was jailed a few days after the interview took place. According to Ramírez, Bárcenas substantially confirmed all the allegations that have been appearing in various media over the past 6 months, namely: that the PP has been financing itself illegally for the past 20 years through cash donations from businessmen whose firms received lucrative public contracts in exchange. The donations were used to fund cost overruns of the PP's political campaigns, as well as paying salary supplements to PP leaders. At one point, the interview mentions Rajoy having suits tailor-made at the expense of the PP's shadow accounts.
Until 2008, Bárcenas participated as Party manager while Álvaro Lapuerta was treasurer, and in 2008 Bárcenas took over from Lapuerta as treasurer. Incidentally, Lapuerta is unable to confirm or disconfirm the allegations as he is incapacitated since being in a coma for two weeks after suffering a fall at the end of April, writes El Diario. According to Bárcenas, Lapuerta kept records on business cards, while he did it on a notebook parts of which were published by El País at the end of January after photocopies were leaked by lawyer and former PP parliamentarian Jorge Trías.
Bárcenas became involved in the so-called Gürtel case in 2009, which led to him stepping down as Party treasurer and later as Senator. According to Bárcenas, he had a meeting back then with his wife, then opposition leader Mariano Rajoy, and Javier Arenas, then a former Secretary General of the PP. At that meeting Bárcenas claims to have blamed current Secretary General Dolores de Cospedal for causing him to "commit his only illegality in his years in the PP", namely taking a €200,000 kickback on behalf of the PP in the region of Castilla-La Mancha, where Cospedal is now regional Premier. Bárcenas claims to have shown documents relating to the transaction, to the shock of Arenas and Rajoy that such things were documented. According to Pedro J Ramírez, Arenas confirms that such meetings took place, but denied any political significance. Bárcenas claims to have abundant documentation going well beyond what has been published so far, and assumes that the publication of those documents would topple the government, which he does not consider "convenient" for Spain at this time. He also claims to be able to prove "in court, when the time comes" that all the money he has in Switzerland was obtained by him by legitimate means and does not belong to the PP.
After the publication of the El Mundo interview, Público writes that sources in the Toledo city hall are "certain" that the alleged "illegal kickback of €200k" is in relation with a specific cleaning contract given in 2007.