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PM backs health minister despite Gürtel expenses link

Popular Party accounts show 22-percent hike in staffing costs between 2008 and 2011

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy continued with his policy of not mentioning the name of former Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas when quizzed about the ongoing corruption scandal embroiling his party at the EU budget summit in Brussels on Friday.

“I already said everything I had to say in a news conference on Saturday,” said Rajoy when asked about the case relating to alleged bonus payments to top party officials, including himself, from secret accounts operated by the ex-PP moneyman. “We are not going to go over it again.”

The PM did however offer his continued support for Health Minister Ana Mato after a police report recently linked her to expenses and payments in the Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts corruption case. “I maintain my confidence in Ana Mato,” he said.

In the wake of the Bárcenas case, the PP on Friday published a summary of its accounts for 2008 to 2011 showing that its expenditure on staff had increased by five million euros, 22 percent, in that four-year period.

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