The PP’s hidden finances

Judge believes Bárcenas and wife amassed their fortune with PP slush fund

Former party treasurer ordered to appear before the High Court on April 10

Jailed former PP treasurer Luis Bárcenas. / Luis Sevillano

Jailed former Popular Party (PP) treasurer Luis Bárcenas and his wife Rosalía Iglesias will be called to testify before the High Court next week concerning allegations that they amassed a fortune from a secret slush fund he has admitted controlling on behalf of the ruling party.

Judge Pablo Ruz, who has been investigating the secret accounting system allegedly kept by Bárcenas, as well as illegal campaign contributions that may have been made by a number of high-profile businessmen, said in a writ issued on Wednesday that enough evidence exists that reflects there was “an eventual diversion” of money from the PP accounts controlled by the former treasurer.

Bárcenas – who has been in preventive custody since June 27 – and Iglesias have been subpoenaed to appear before Ruz on April 10.

The couple has maintained they made their money by selling artworks and through investments.

But Ruz said that there are indications to conclude an “alleged augmentation” of the couple’s wealth that was made “through transfers between bank accounts they both held in Spain and Switzerland.” Investigators have said that at one time Bárcenas was holding at least €48.2 million in Swiss bank accounts.

The couple has maintained they made their money by selling artworks and through investments

Specifically, the judge has asked for a special judiciary commission to investigate the transfers made from one bank in Lugano, which Bárcenas has testified belonged to former PP treasurer Rosendo Naseiro. Ruz has also asked Uruguayan authorities to block any accounts Bárcenas and his wife hold in that South American country.

Last week, Ruz ordered the search of a Madrid branch of lender Bankia in order to locate documents relating to a series of transactions carried out by Iglesias between 2005 and 2006.

Bárcenas faces multiple charges, including tax evasion, money laundering, bribery and fraud in connection with hundreds of thousands of euros he may have illegally received while serving as treasurer and PP senator. He is also under investigation for the series of accounting ledgers he kept while treasurer that purportedly show cash bonuses paid to top PP officials.

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