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THE PP'S HIDDEN FINANCES

Bárcenas appeals judge’s decision to confiscate his passport

Popular Party drops regular Monday press meeting as slush fund investigation deepens

Former Popular Party treasurer Luis Bárcenas has appealed a High Court judge’s decision to confiscate his passport and prohibit him from leaving the country as an investigation into his finances and a possible party slush fund continues. The man who controlled the PP’s purse strings from 1990 to 2010 filed his appeal with a High Court’s criminal chamber. The Bárcenas affair has severely sideswiped the PP, which canceled its Monday press conference.

The PP usually holds a news conference following the weekly meeting of the national committee. But during the past several meetings with reporters, party officials have found it increasingly difficult to explain the latest events unfolding in the Bárcenas case.

On Friday, police were called to the PP headquarters after Bárcenas filed a criminal complaint against chief party counsel, Alberto Durán, for allegedly stealing computers that the former treasurer says he left in his office. Bárcenas has also filed a lawsuit against the PP for unfair dismissal as a political consultant, alleging that he was unknowingly dropped from the Social Security rolls on January 31. The move came after PP secretary general María Dolores de Cospedal had denied that Bárcenas was still on the party’s payroll.

The High Court is trying to determine the source of Bárcenas’ 38-million-euro fortune in Swiss banks. He insists that the money comes from overseas investments plus real estate and art sales, denying that it came from kickbacks or PP donations.

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