A new corruption case embarrasses the Spanish Partido Popular (PP). If the suspicions were correct, the flow of black money within the party was significant: directors were transferred thousands of euros on top of their salaries.
The conservative PP was long in power in Spain. The party ruled the country from 1996 to 2004, then from 2011 to 2018. At that time, corruption within the party was postpone to a multiheaded sample, the Public Prosecutors Office states.
Today, a new trial on the black money circuit began in Madrid. Primary suspect in the case is the accountant Luis Bárcenas. He did the partys finances for almost thirty years, a period in which the accountant kept a b-fund meticulously. “B” in Spain stands for money that is not paid for taxes.
“Black money to party bills”
“ From 1982 onwards, the PP was financed by contributions in B, from donations to the party. In 2008, this account was one million euros. Of this, 900,000 euros were spent on the renovation of the party office in Madrid,” said Bárcenas to the Attorneys Office earlier this month.
Entrepreneurs who hoped for lucrative public procurement also put contributions into the illegal coffers. According to the accountant, sums of black money from the caja b have disappeared directly into the pockets of party bills.
Already in 2013, the newspaper El País published revelations about the illegal flow of money, with the publication of handwritten cash books. Among the privileged was former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and the later IMF leader Rodrigo Rato, as would appear from the accounting records.
Evidence destroyed and disappeared
One problem is that other evidence in the case was lost because Prime Minister Rajoy personally ran them through a shredder, says the former accountant. Documents also disappeared after a break-in at his wifes studio.
Previously, judges focused on corruption within the PP, in a parallel case. Following the conviction of a group of party members and associates, Rajoys government fell down in 2018. Bárcenas was also condemned on that occasion.
Especially young people left
Due to the corruption scandals, the Partido Popular has lost part of its supporters, and it is not possible to get those votes back. Those people have switched to the right-wing radical party Vox, says political analyst Oriol Bartomeu. “For those voters, the PP is corrupt. Especially young people have left,” he says.
He expects that Sunday, when there are regional elections in Catalonia, the PP will notice the direct consequences of the scandals. “Vox is more radical, harder, but not smeared by people filling their pockets. The Partido Popular can get a lot of blows.”
The lawsuit against former associates of the party is going to last weeks. The former Prime Ministers José María Aznar and Rajoy are also heard, albeit only as a witness.