SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

Two former Spanish PMs to testify at slush fund trial

Two former Spanish prime ministers will testify as witnesses later this month in an illegal funding scandal centred on the rightwing Popular Party (PP), a court said Friday.

Two former Spanish PMs to testify at slush fund trial
Former Prime Ministers Jose Maria Aznar (L) and Mariano Rajoy (R) will testify in court on March 24th. Photo: Sagrario Cagigas/AFP

Mariano Rajoy, who was premier from 2011-2018, and Jose Maria Aznar, who served from 1996-2004, are scheduled to testify on March 24 in a trial focused on an alleged system of parallel bookkeeping used by the PP to manage undeclared funds.

The accounts were run by Luis Barcenas, who served as the PP treasurer between 1990 and 2009 during which time first Aznar and then Rajoy led the party.

The high-profile trial opened on February 8 at the National Court in Madrid and will run until May.

For nearly 20 years, the alleged slush fund was fed by donations from businessmen and used to pay bonuses to PP leaders and collaborators.

It also funded the renovation of the party’s Madrid headquarters, Barcenas has said.

Rajoy has always denied any knowledge of the system, although Barcenas has testified he was “perfectly aware” of it, telling the court last week that he was one of those who received envelopes of cash in the period before he became premier.

READ ALSO: Spain’s former PM ‘was paid illegal bonuses’, trial hears

“I gave them an envelope containing the amount they were owed,” he said, identifying the recipients as eight senior PP figures, among them Rajoy.

Details of the accounts emerged in the so-called “Barcenas papers” which were first published by El Pais newspaper in 2013.

Barcenas himself is currently serving a 29-year sentence over the so-called Gurtel case which centred on a vast system of bribes given to former PP officials in exchange for juicy public contracts between 1999 and 2005.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

NATO

Sánchez and Spanish King to meet with Biden before Madrid NATO summit

President Biden will meet with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe VI ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month.

Sánchez and Spanish King to meet with Biden before Madrid NATO summit

The President of the United States Joe Biden is set to meet with both the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe VI ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June.

In what will be the Biden’s first official trip to Spain since winning the Presidency, he will meet with the Prime Minister and King to “reaffirm the strong bilateral relationship” between Spain and the U.S as soon as he lands in the capital, a White House spokesperson told the Spanish press.

Although the dates of the bilateral meetings are yet to be confirmed, it is believed that Biden will arrive in Madrid after attending the G7 summit in Germany, and before the start of the Atlantic Alliance Summit next Wednesday June 29th.

Sánchez spoke with Biden by phone this week, reportedly about preparations for the summit and Spain’s role in providing aid and weapons to the war effort in Ukraine. 

READ ALSO: US plans to strike Central American refugee resettlement deal with Spain

“I have just talked with President Biden about the next NATO Summit in Madrid, a historic event in which the Alliance will strengthen its unity and cohesion, in defense of democracy and freedom,” Sánchez wrote on Twitter.

Recent phone call aside, the meeting comes after Sánchez was shunned by Washington during most of the Ukraine crisis. It is believed Biden spoke to leaders by phone from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy to coordinate the response to Russia’s invasion, but not Spain.

American diplomats have since tried to play down Sánchez’s absence from the coordination calls, suggesting they, or some of them at least, were made within the framework of the G7, something Spain is not a part of.

SHOW COMMENTS