Spain scandalised as wealth of millionaire politicians is revealed
A Spanish politician sparked public anger yesterday as he was shown to own 22 properties after the country's parliamentarians were forced to open their finances to scrutiny following a series of corruption scandals.
The revelations – which saw the parliament's website crash when tens of thousands of people tried to view the figures – also showed at least eight others were euro millionaires, even before property was taken into consideration.
News of the wealth of some of the country's representatives went down badly with many Spaniards, who have been repeatedly urged to tighten their belts in a country with the highest rates of unemployment in Europe.
They are bracing themselves for austerity measures and according to a survey on the Spanish newspaper El Mundo's website, 60 per cent of those interviewed said they were "scandalised" by the average level of income.
One of the richest MPs was revealed as Francisco Javier Gomez Darmedrail, from the Popular Party, which was voted out of power in 2004. According to El Mundo, Mr Darmedrail, who has connections to the construction industry, declared 22 different flats and houses in his 2010 tax return, including some apparently given as donations.
One senator, Jose Luis Barreiro, had 17 properties, including a hotel on an archipelago in the Canary Islands.
The leader of the communist-dominated United Left coalition, Gaspar Llamazares, had €303,058 in savings and investments and joint ownership of a flat, the figures showed. The figures revealed average savings of €163,000 and two properties per MP.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero – who will not stand for re-election in November – held €34,925 in a joint account with his wife and three pension schemes worth just €3,463.
Mariano Rajoy, the conservative likely to be the next prime minister, reports having nearly €600,000 in bank accounts and shares, plus properties in Madrid, the Canary Islands and his native Galicia. His Socialist opponent, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, reports having about €1m, a Madrid apartment, a parking place and no debts.
The richest on paper was the former Socialist minister Mercedes Cabrera with more than €6m in investments, held jointly with her husband, a high-profile financial analyst.
The financial declarations followed legislation passed in July to ensure that politicians had "glass wallets" following a series of scandals.
They largely involved town hall corruption involving construction and illegal building permits.
Last link to Franco quits
The last minister still active in Spainish politics who served under the dictator General Francisco Franco is to quit. Manuel Fraga, 89, will not stand in the forthcoming general elections, according to sources.
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