Wednesday

24th May 2017

Top Spanish official in graft scandal

  • Madrid: the former treasurer in Spain's ruling party hid up to €22 million in a Swiss bank account (Photo: PromoMadrid/Max Alexander)

A former treasurer of Spain’s ruling People’s Party (PP) hid away his wealth in a Swiss bank account.

Court documents from an on-going judicial investigation into former PP treasurer Luis Barcenas revealed the account held up to €22 million, reports Reuters.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday (19 January) said he would crack down on corruption after the documents had been released.

“I will not waiver against inappropriate conduct,” said Rajoy.

The party, along with the opposition socialists, has helped govern the nation for the past three decades. In 2011, the conservatives won the general elections and unseated the socialists.

Barcenas was the People's Party financial chief for 28 years until 2009 when he became the focal point of an investigation for allegedly accepting bribes from businesses vying for lucrative government contracts.

The revelations come at a sensitive moment as the ruling party is losing the confidence of its electorate.

Support for the country's top leadership is at a new low, according to a Metroscopia survey published in El Pais on 13 January. Over 80 percent polled have either little or no confidence in Rajoy's stewardship.

Meanwhile, cuts in spending on education, welfare, pensions and health care have affected the weakest.

A drop in real wages means those working are still living within poverty’s grasp.

Spain’s in-work poverty rate has steadily increased since 2005 and now stands at 11.5 percent. Only Romania and Greece fare worse, says the European Commission.

Around 57 percent of under-25s are unemployed and have been dubbed “the lost generation”.

Tens of thousands of Spanish pensioners last December also saw their savings disappear over night after Bankia posted record losses.

The bank then received an €18 billion EU bailout but none went to recover the pensioners’ savings.

Despite the sizeable unemployment rates, a banking sector that received some €100 billion over the summer, and an 8 percent budget deficit of GDP, ministers in Madrid expect growth to return later this year.

But corruption antics as those alleged of Barcenas is unlikely to please the party’s support base.

The commission estimates that up to 25 percent of a public contracts’ value is lost due to corruption in public procurement.

The health care sector alone eats up an estimated €56 billion annually of public money throughout the Union due to kick-backs and bribes.

Merkel backs Spain's embattled PM

Germany's Merkel has "full confidence" in Spanish leader Mariano Rajoy, accused of having received secret payments together with other party officials.

MEPs vote to start democracy probe on Hungary

The European Parliament took the first step towards launching the Article 7 procedure against Hungary for backsliding on democracy. The process might lead to sanctions, but Orban is not backing down.

MEPs preparing to crack down on Orban

The EU assembly's largest group is split by its "enfant terrible", but enough MEPs are likely to abstain or vote Yes on the "Article 7" crackdown over Orban's illiberal rule.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Austria heading for snap elections

Foreign minister Kurz has taken leadership of the conservative party in what could lead to an alliance with the far-right.

News in Brief

  1. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  2. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  3. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  4. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  5. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  6. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls
  7. France to host Russian president
  8. Switzerland votes against nuclear power

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms

Latest News

  1. Openness over Brexit is 'political play', says EU ombudsman
  2. Le Pen's EU group in fresh spending scandal
  3. New EU right to data portability to cause headaches
  4. Cyber threats are inevitable, paralyzing impact is not
  5. Transparency complaints keep EU Ombudsman busy
  6. EU sets out criteria for relocating UK agencies
  7. EU states back bill against online hate speech
  8. Dutch coalition talks collapse again