Publication: Monday, March 8, 2021 8:02 AM
The trial of the so-called “ case B ” of the PP resumes this Monday with the declaration of the former treasurer of the PP Luis Bárcenas in front of the national court, which postponed it due to the positive in COVID-19 of one of the accused.
It remains to be seen what he will say to the judge after the latest revelations, in which he pointed out the existence of donations to the party to cover election expenses and in exchange for the award of public contracts and designated Mariano Rajoy as a connoisseur. of this “box B”.
His declaration can be decisive in this case if he continues in the line of collaboration with the justice in which his declaration took place on February 24 before the judge in charge of the “Púnica” case, Manuel García Castellón.
That day, the ex-treasurer ensured that the PP of the Community of Madrid returned the donations he had received in cash to the national party treasury, and from there bank transfers were then made to regional accounts. party.
Black payments, donations in exchange for contracts, money laundering … the accusations of the former treasurer
It was an operation whereby money given in cash by entrepreneurs, especially in the construction sector, who subsequently obtained public contracts, was laundered. According to Bárcenas, these donations could reach 400,000 euros in the case of the Community of Madrid.
In this statement, Bárcenas assured to have given to the former president of Madrid Esperanza Aguirre an envelope of 60,000 euros offered by the builder Luis Gálvez, president of Ploder, who was awarded the construction of the hospital of Vallecas.
The delivery, he said, took place in the office of the then treasurer of Fr. Álvaro Lapuerta and in the presence of Francisco Granados. Although he could not tie donations to a specific reward commitment, the former treasurer assured that these deliveries are not made in a “altruistic” manner.
Aguirre, another of those mentioned
With regard to the PP in Madrid, the ex-treasurer appoints the director of the regional PP, Beltrán Gutiérrez, as the maximum responsible for the management of these amounts, who directly executed the instructions of the president and the secretary general of the party in post in Madrid.
It therefore points directly to Esperanza Aguirre (president) and Granados (general secretary). Another fundamental element of the network for collecting and laundering money was the Foundation for the Economic and Social Development of the Autonomous Community of Madrid (Fundescam).
So far, Bárcenas has not provided any documents to support his claims, although in his statement to Judge García Castellón he said that at the time he gave a trusted friend three boxes. of documents.
At the start of this trial, Bárcenas wrote a letter to the anti-corruption prosecution in which he clearly indicated his intention to collaborate with the justice system. He confirmed the existence of parallel accounting to the PP of which its then president, Mariano Rajoy, was fully aware. This “box B” was controlled, according to the letter, by the then treasurer of the party Luis Bárcenas and by his predecessor Álvaro Lapuerta, now deceased.
The existence of this parallel accounting has already been established in the judgment of the main part of the “Gürtel case” and confirmed by the Supreme Court, which resolved the appeals. The judges did not attribute a crime to the PP, but considered the formation as civilly responsible for payments made in black.
The trial will analyze whether this “ box B ” worked between the years 1990 and 2009. Before the hearing of the first stage of the “ Gürtel conspiracy ”, the PP had to provide a deposit of 1.2 million for the 888,000 euros they represented. were able to pay in black for the renovation of the building on Genova 13 street in Madrid.
To face this trial, Bárcenas has changed lawyers and has already clearly indicated his change of strategy. Together with his wife, Rosalía Iglesias, in prison, he decided to pull the blanket off and explain to the judges the supposed mechanism by which businessmen, mainly from the construction sector, made donations to the PP in exchange for public markets.
Accused and witnesses
For these events, Luis Bárcenas sits on the bench, facing a request from the prosecutor for five years in prison for alleged embezzlement, falsification of documents and a tax offense. With him will be judged the former director of the PP Cristóbal Páez (18 months in prison) and the officials of the company Unifica, which carried out the reform of the national headquarters of the party, Gonzalo Urquijo and Belén García, for whom the requested sentence is equivalent at three years and ten months. The last of the accused is Laura Montero, an employee of the company and to whom only the popular accusation indicates it.
Currently, Bárcenas is serving a 29-year prison sentence for tax offenses, money laundering and embezzlement. The sentence imposed on him in this trial will not have to be met by being below the others he is already serving and, therefore, the result for practical purposes is the same as if he had been acquitted and will serve to settle accounts with a PP who, According to his perception, he abandoned it. It remains to be seen whether he will provide documentary support in support of his statement.
So far, Bárcenas has presented no documentary evidence to prove his charges
One of these tests could be a recording to which he alludes in his letter to the prosecution, and in which an interlocutor who for the moment has not identified himself would recognize in Lapuerta the existence of this “ box B ” and the collection of bonuses for party leaders. This recording and other documents were precisely proof that a para-police device allegedly promoted by the Interior Ministry headed by Jorge Fernández Díaz attempted to steal it.
The hearing resumes this Monday after two postponements. The first of them, motivated by the contagion and the hospital admission for COVID-19 of the former director of PP Cristóbal Páez. After his convalescence, the return to trial was set for March 1, but it had to be postponed after checking that the premises of the headquarters in Genova Street could not accommodate all the participants in this procedure, as they exceeded the recommended capacity. in the health protocol in the face of the pandemic.
With five defendants and star witnesses, such as former presidents José María Aznar and Mariano Rajoy, it will be the scene in which former party treasurer Luis Bárcenas settles accounts with the formation and pulls the cover, giving details of the alleged donations from businessmen in exchange for public judgments, the alleged collection of bonuses by the party leadership, and the knowledge Rajoy, he assures, had of this parallel accounting.
Also mentioned are former ministers Francisco Álvarez-Cascos, Rodrigo Rato, José María Michavila and Federico Trillo; the former president of the Senate Pío García Escudero and the former general secretaries of PP María Dolores de Cospedal and Javier Arenas, among others. All of them, Bárcenas says, were beneficiaries of bonuses that were given to them in cash.
In addition, the businessmen who appear in the so-called “Bárcenas papers” will have to appear in court, including the former president of the OHL construction company Juan Miguel Villar Mir; the former president of Sacyr Vallehermoso Luis del Rivero; former FCC director José Mayor Oreja; and the president of Mercadona, Juan Roig.
Also on the list of witnesses are two builders linked to this “ box B ” of the PP, like Alfonso García Pozuelo and Rafael Palencia, who admitted throughout the investigation to have given money to the party to pay. electoral campaigns in exchange for the award of public works.