More than five million euros of the 7.5 million euros listed as payments to party leaders in accounting ledgers prepared by former Popular Party treasurer Luis Bárcenas may have exceeded the legal limits under the law that was in effect at the time.
Only a fraction of the money in the documents, to which EL PAÍS has had access, was listed in the party's official accounts.
The party financing law at the time, which covered the 1987-2007 period, prohibited donations greater than 60,000 euros a year as well as contributions from companies or corporations that hold public contracts. Many contributions from firms and companies are included in the ledgers. In 2007, the Socialist government of the day amended the party financing laws to ban all types of anonymous donations.
The companies contacted by EL PAÍS listed in the ledgers denied that they had made any illegal payments to the PP.
But various party officials, including Senate speaker Pío García Escudero, on Thursday confirmed the cash figures that appear by their names in Bárcenas' accounting ledgers.
García Escudero acknowledged that he had paid back a 30,000-euro loan he got from the party to repair his Madrid home following an ETA attack in August 2000. The full amount he repaid is reflected in an accounting ledger from December 2001.
Jaime Ignacio del Burgo, then-spokesman of the Navarre People's Union (UPN) -- a traditional PP congressional ally -- said he also asked for money from the party after ETA attacked its local headquarters in 2001.
"I asked the PP for help, but I cannot recall who I asked or who in the party gave me the money," he said on Thursday.