Rajoy Party Official Put $3 Million in Swiss Account, Court SaysBen Sills
Luis Barcenas, the former treasurer of Spain’s governing People’s Party, made cash deposits into a Swiss bank account amounting to 2.4 million euros ($3.1 million), Spain’s National Court said.
Barcenas, named by El Pais newspaper as having run a party slush fund that made cash payments to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, deposited the money in an account with a Swiss unit of Dresdner Bank AG between June 2001 and June 2005, the court said in a statement today, citing documentation provided by Swiss authorities last month.
The PP is suing El Pais over a January report that Barcenas made cash payments to Rajoy as well as former ministers. Rajoy has denied the allegations. The party said in a statement that hand-written ledgers El Pais published purporting to show the payments were “false and very probably manipulated.” Barcenas’s lawyer, Alfonso Trallero, declined to comment through an assistant when contacted by Bloomberg News.
Spain’s National Court began investigating an alleged corruption ring involving the PP and businessmen with links to the party in 2009. Barcenas has been named as an official suspect in the investigation.
Magistrate Pablo Ruz at the National Court received 11 volumes of documentation from Swiss officials last month as a result of a request for information made in 2009. The papers showed 15 cash payments of between 100,000 euros and 240,000 euros made at branches in Geneva and Lugano, Ruz said in a court filing.
Barcenas opened his account with Dresdner Bank in Geneva in 2001 and had a separate account with Dresdner Bank in Zurich from 1994, Ruz said. Barcenas began making payments to party officials in 1994, according to El Pais.
Dresdner Bank was bought by Frankfurt-based Commerzbank AG in January 2009 after posting a record loss of 6.3 billion euros for 2008. Commerzbank sold Dresdner’s wealth-management business in Switzerland. Dresdner Bank (Switzerland) Ltd. was acquired by Liechtenstein-based LGT Group in 2009, according to LGT’s website.
LGT spokesman Christof Buri declined to comment when contacted by phone. Commerzbank spokesman Gunnar Meyer didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.