Attorney General Eduardo Torres-Dulce has ordered the anti-corruption prosecutor to investigate any possible links between the alleged payments handed out to Popular Party (PP) officials and case filings in the massive ongoing kickbacks-for-contracts scheme known as the Gürtel case.
Last week, chief prosecutor Antonio Romeral began looking for any connections before EL PAÍS began publishing copies of Luis Bárcenas’ ledgers. Now, with new evidence on the table, the prosecutor must determine whether crimes were committed in the handout of these cash bonuses or if any of the PP leaders who appear in the former treasurer’s lists should be prosecuted.
As of now, the attorney general has objected to looking into the handouts of money until it is determined who received them, what crimes may have been committed and if there is any relation with the ongoing Gürtel investigation.
“The possible existence of a so-called ‘B’ account at the Popular Party, as well as, in this case, the source of funds and their destination, is being investigated in the 1/2013 informative proceedings to be handled in this open anti-corruption inquiry dated January 24, 2013. So, should there be connection to the facts of this case, evidence will immediately be turned over to the judge in this case [High Court Judge Pablo Ruz],” according to the prosecution’s statement.
Sources at the Attorney General’s Office said that in order for the PP payments to become a separate investigation from the Gürtel case there must be evidence that the money was connected to Bárcenas’ alleged Swiss account in which he had stashed away 22 million euros.
Prosecutors have already asked Judge Ruz to subpoena Bárcenas to give a statement concerning his Swiss accounts and the tax amnesty that he applied for last year.
If there is no relation to the Gürtel case, another court, such as a Madrid provincial court or even the Supreme Court, can assume jurisdiction, the sources said.
Prosecution sources also explain that if any of the payments made to PP officials were not declared to the tax agency AEAT, violations to the tax code or crimes against the treasury could only be filed if the amount exceeded 120,000 euros. If it does not exceed that amount, it would simply be handed down as a fine owed to the Treasury.
Even though EL PAÍS has been publishing details handwritten by Bárcenas concerning the payouts, which could have been in violation of the political party financing laws, Torres-Dulce on Friday appeared to be leaning in favor of opening a separate investigation into Bárcenas’ ledgers.