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Spain governing party says its finances are clean

SPAIN CORRUPTION | 31 de enero de 2013

The secretary-general of Spain's governing Popular Party, Maria Dolores de Cospedal, tells a press conference that the PP's finances are fully aboveboard. EFE

Madrid, Jan 31 (EFE).- Spain's governing Popular Party said Thursday that its financial arrangements are managed "in accord with legality and complying with tax obligations," responding to a press report about an alleged secret ledger.

Published in Thursday's edition of Madrid daily El Pais, the handwritten document attributed to former PP treasurers Alvaro Lapuerta and Luis Barcenas covers the period 1990-2009.

The entries detail contributions to the PP from businesses and payments to PP leaders, including current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The PP issued a statement denying the existence of any secret ledgers and stressing that the party's accounts have been submitted for inspection by the relevant authorities.

Barcenas, in a statement sent to Efe, said no undeclared payments were made during his years as PP treasurer.

Besides Rajoy, recipients of the payments listed on the ostensible secret ledger included current party Secretary-General Maria Dolores de Cospedal, El Pais said.

When contacted by the newspaper for comment, all of the individuals and firms named in the article denied having made or received any undeclared payments.

The PP's National Executive Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting this weekend to consider additional responses to the allegations, sources inside the party told Efe Thursday.

The controversy emerged last week when authorities in Switzerland told a Spanish judge probing a kickbacks-for-contracts scandal known as the "Gürtel case" that Barcenas had deposited some 22 million euros (roughly $29.3 million) in Swiss bank accounts.

After initially ordering an internal review of PP finances, Rajoy on Monday commissioned an examination by independent external auditors.

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