Popular Party distances itself from activities of former treasurer

Group “indignant” at “insinuation” of impropriety lodged against it

The ruling Popular Party on Thursday bristled at the idea of being tarred by the same brush as its former treasurer Luis Bárcenas, who is facing corruption charges.

PP congressional spokesman Alfonso Alonso took umbrage at what he called an “insidious” attempt on the part of the main opposition Socialist Party to link a tax amnesty the government introduced last year to Bárcenas, who took advantage of it to declare 10 million euros that had previously been hidden abroad from the Tax Agency.

“The activities of Mr Bárcenas have nothing to do with PP,” Alonso said, adding that he saw no need for the party to answer for its treasurer, who is no longer a PP member.

Bárcenas is one of the key suspects in the Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts scandal, in which a number of top PP officials in Madrid and Valencia are implicated in an investigation being headed by High Court Judge Pablo Ruz.

“We ask the judge, we urge him to investigate and get to the bottom of this because within the PP we feel indignant,” Alonso said. “This is very hard because the immense majority [within the party] are honest workers.”

The PP spokesman said the tax amnesty does not preclude those availing themselves of it being prosecuted for criminal activities.

The PP premier of Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, said that the fact the Gürtel investigation had also discovered that Bárcenas had a Swiss bank account in his name with as much as 22 million euros deposited was a “serious case that requires urgent answers.”

Another PP official responsible for the party’s organization, Carlos Floriano, noted that Bárcenas resigned as treasurer in July 2009 and dropped out of the party in April 2010. “It is important that all doubts are cleared up about personal fortunes, about the money people that people might have, where it comes from and how it was obtained,” Floriano told Catalunya Radio.

Former PP premier for Madrid and party baron Esperanza Aguirre also called for developments surrounding Bárcenas to be cleared up. “It can’t be that people believe politicians are covering up for each other,” Aguirre told the radio station Onda Cero.

PP secretary general and premier of the region of Castilla-La Mancha also distanced the party from Bárcenas. “This is a particular issue regarding this person in question, and it doesn´t have anything to do with the PP,” she said.

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