BÁRCENAS’ SECRET PAPERS

EL PAÍS hands over PP treasurer’s secret papers to prosecutors

Newspaper’s editor-in-chief takes view that submission of documents does not violate professional secrecy protecting source

The editor-in-chief of EL PAÍS, Javier Moreno, on Tuesday morning handed over the documents known as “Bárcenas’ secret papers” to the Judicial Police in response to an order from the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office. The documents allegedly contain handwritten accounts by the former Popular Party (PP) treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, showing cash donations and outgoing payments from 1990 to 2008, with the exceptions of the years 1994, 1995 and 1996. Moreno also handed in other documents published by EL PAÍS which relate to alleged illegal financing on the part of Spain’s ruling party.

The editor-in-chief consulted with EL PAÍS´s legal advisors and the newspaper’s management before taking the decision to comply with the judicial order. Moreno was satisfied that the handing over of the documents will not in any way compromise the identity of the source who supplied EL PAÍS with the papers.

The order from the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office is part of an investigation set up to determine whether the PP received illicit donations and made irregular payments to leading party members during the 1990-2008 period, as is suggested by the documents published by this newspaper.

The papers handed in comprised 14 handwritten sheets allegedly compiled by ex-treasurer Bárcenas, the contents of which were published fully in last Sunday’s edition of EL PAÍS. The notes detail payments to various leading party officials from 1990 onward, as well as other expenses. In the entry column, donations from companies or businessmen are listed, most of which violate the Party Financing Law.

The other documents handed over were first published on January 27 and show certain aspects of the Madrid Popular Party’s internal accounting, in particular donations by various companies to one of the party’s foundations (Fundescam). This money was, allegedly, used to finance electoral campaigns. Also included are checks for donations of less than 3,000 euros, which ended up in the PP’s coffers without being examined by the Court of Auditors because they were below the minimum legal threshold that triggers the need for them to be declared.

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