Luis Bárcenas, on Thursday. :: EFE
Madrid. The storm released with the publication of accounts showing under-the-table handouts to senior Partido Popular members has still not abated. This week has seen a crossfire of lawsuits filed by former party treasurer Luis Bárcenas and by the party itself.
After it was revealed that the PP had sacked the treasurer in January ( although he was relieved of his duties as treasurer when he was involved in the Gürtel corruption case), Bárcenas reported the party for unfair dismissal and the PP lawyer Alberto Pío Durán for the theft of computers from the office he used at the party headquarters. This week he added a third complaint, this time to the Labour Inspection Department in Madrid, accusing the party of maltreatment in the workplace. He says that his “privacy” was violated when his office was emptied and personal material removed.
On Wednesday, 34 days after the compromising accounts were published, the PP has finally decided to take legal action. The lawsuit, however, barely touches Bárcenas and focuses its accusations on El País, the newspaper that first published the information. The case mentions Luis Bárcenas as the “alleged author of the false papers”, pointing out though that he had publicly denied writing the lists of names and figures.
The watered-down action comes after many senior members of the party refused to sue Bárcenas. Even Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose name appears as apparently having received thousands from the slush fund over the years, has not taken legal action personally.
The accounts were published shortly after it was revealed that Bárcenas had had 22 million euros in Swiss bank accounts. The anti-corruption prosecutor has now called for more investigation into the finances of the former treasurer’s wife, Rosalía Iglesias. Her accounts showed deposits of 11 million euros in one year despite the fact that she had no job.
Meanwhile for the first time a connection has been made between the Partido Popular’s alleged slush fund and the Gürtel corruption scandal. Judge Pablo Ruz has ordered an investigation into the PP accounts published by El País after the police reported at least “three coincidences” with the documents seized in the Gürtel operation related to two of the accused: Pablo Crespo and the builder Alfonso García Pozuelo.