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POLITICAL CORRUPTION

Former PP treasurer had up to 22 million euros in Swiss bank account

Bárcenas also controlled firms registered in tax havens

The former treasurer of the ruling conservative Popular Party, Luis Bárcenas, had a bank account in Switzerland with an average balance of 15 million euros, according to an ongoing investigation into the kickbacks-for-contracts Gürtel scandal in which a number of high-ranking PP officials have been implicated.

The latest development in the corruption probe emerged from a request for information sent to the Swiss authorities by the judge investigating the case, Pablo Ruz.

After Bárcenas was officially implicated in the Gürtel probe in 2009, the former PP senator withdrew the funds from the account, transferring them to another one in the name of a company called Tedesul.

The initial account was with a branch of Dresdner Bank in Geneva in the name of a Panamanian company called Sinequanon, controlled by Bárcenas.

At the end of 2007, the amount deposited was 22 million euros, falling to 11.8 million in October 2009. Judge Ruz has asked for more information on the account.

Bárcenas and his wife face charges of tax fraud and of receiving illegal payoffs in connection with the Gürtel ring controlled by businessman Francisco Correa. A number of top PP officials in Madrid and Valencia have also been officially targeted in the probe.