Bárcenas, nicknamed Luis el Cabrón (Luis the Bastard) in Spain, spent nearly a year and a half in a Madrid prison while judges investigated his alleged involvement in a kickbacks scheme involving top Spanish businessmen.
He was then released in on bail in January this year but has not been given a passport back as he is considered a flight risk. Prosecutors believe he has millions of euros hidden away in banks in Switzerland and South America, and continue to scour through financial records in an effort to prove this.
But it is Bárcenas involvement in another case that transformed him into a figure who, for many Spaniards, represents all this is wrong with the country’s political system.
While the always-elegant former politician has never been formally charged with a crime, he became an everyday presence in the Spanish press in 2013 after documents published in major Spanish newspapers indicated he was one of several figures behind a secret political slush fund run by the Popular Party before they took power in 2011.
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Far from dodging that accusation, Bárcenas tried to turn the tables. Famously he claimed to have made under-the-table payments to top party figures including current Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during his brief stint as PP treasurer.
Rajoy staunchly denied the claims, and distanced himself from Bárcenas, even refusing to use his name, referring to him instead as “that person”.
On Friday, though, Spanish press reported that the judge overseeing the case into Bárcenas missing millions has granted him two weeks leave at his home in the Pyrenees ski resort of Baqueira-Beret.
However, as a condition of that leave the former PP treasurer will have to report to local police on a weekly basis.
This is not the first time Bárcenas has been giving holiday leave. In February he spent 11 days at the ski resort in Catalonia.