Spain’s ruling People’s Party (PP) is engaged in a network of corruption centred around its treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, nicknamed in secret exchanges as Luis the Bastard, according to prosecutor Concepcion Sabadell who also claimed that PP accepted bribes from businessman Francisco Correa.
The developments came as a year-long trial investigating allegations of bribery and slush funds in Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s political party nears its end. The timing of the case is highly embarrassing for the government which has been claiming the moral high ground in the dispute over Catalan independence by framing itself as the guardians of the rule of law.
The investigation, which has been running for a decade, has already claimed the scalp of Ana Mato who resigned as health minister two years ago after her family was accused of accepting holidays and a Jaguar sports car in return for public contracts.
Politicians like Pablo Echenique from the Podemos (We Can) party and Sol Sanchez from Izquierda Unida (United Left) tweeted screenshots of a ‘secret accounting book’ allegedly used by PP, highlighting the presence of the names of Rajoy and ex-IMF chief Rodrigo Rato.
One of the keys to the case, codenamed Gurtel by police, was the identity of the mysterious “Luis el Cabron” (Luis the Bastard) who the prosecutor says is long-time treasurer of the party Luis Bárcenas.
Nearly 40 other politicians and businesspeople are involved in the trial. Rajoy and other PP leaders have insisted they are innocent. Bárcenas asked to be acquitted trial earlier this month according to the El Mundo.