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Trial recalls Scandalous Past of the Popular Party of Spain

A major trial in Spain that begins Monday will once again focus on the illegal financing scandal that has plagued the Popular Party for years and has been the shadow of the country’s main conservative party despite its promises to regenerate.

The judicial process in the National Court in Madrid will analyze whether the remodeling of the party’s headquarters in the Spanish capital more than a decade ago was paid for with alleged illegal funds largely made up of bribes.

The case is the latest in a court saga that began when allegations first surfaced in 2013 of inaccurate accounting that the party kept for decades.

The PP, which has been a dominant presence during the last four decades of Spanish democracy, has already paid a high political price for the corruption scandals in which its members or elected officials have been involved.

In mid-2018, its former leader Mariano Rajoy was removed from office as prime minister after a court ruled that the party had profited from a bribery conspiracy.

Luis Barcenas, who was PP treasurer for a long time, is currently serving a 29-year prison sentence for that case. On Monday, along with four other defendants, he will appear again in the new trial.

The former accountant faces five more years behind bars if, on this occasion, the judges establish that the remodeling of the party’s central office was partly financed with illegal funds that Barcenas controlled and if the party evaded the payment of taxes on illegal donations made. by private companies and individuals, some in exchange for public contracts.

Barcenas acknowledged the crimes and threatened to reveal more details that could affect former members of the party because he claims that they did not fulfill the promise to prevent his wife from going to prison in exchange for the silence of the former treasurer. His wife, Rosalia Iglesias, is serving a 13-year prison sentence for tax evasion and other crimes.

Ben Oakley
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