Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, declares himself ‘not guilty’ in finance scandal
The first day of August is popularly known in Spain as Operación Salida (Operation Exit). But those expecting the country’s embattled Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to join the millions of Spaniards making their annual mass exodus from the towns and cities and quit – in a political sense – were left sorely disappointed.
Instead, in Mr Rajoy’s long-awaited first parliamentary appearance over a scandal involving an alleged Partido Popular [PP] slush fund, he firmly rejected calls for early elections, and for his resignation.
It has been seven months since Mr Rajoy and other senior PP figures were linked to the fund, with illegal monthly cash payments of between €5,000 and €15,000 allegedly made to the PM. The payments, from big businesses, appeared in a series of ledgers written by Luis Bárcenas, the former party treasurer, who is currently on remand over a fraud case.
Mr Rajoy is alleged to have received €250,000, a risible amount compared to the €47m found in one of Mr Bárcenas’s Swiss bank accounts, but still illegal: Spain’s government ministers cannot receive any income other than their state-paid wages.
However, Mr Rajoy was not cowed. He said he had made a single mistake – trusting Mr Bárcenas – but left no doubt he and his party would not be dislodged. “You did not want explanations, just for me to declare myself guilty,” Mr Rajoy said. “But I am not. I will not declare myself to be guilty because I have no evidence that my party was financed illegally.”
Three more senior PP members, including Mr Rajoy’s deputy, María Dolores de Cospedal, are due to testify in mid-August. Although Mr Rajoy’s and his party’s image is increasingly tarnished, with his huge parliamentary majority and elections not scheduled until 2015, he looks set to remain in power.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Gay couple buy JebBushForPresident.com web domain, and refuse to sell
16 Waitrose customers who could not cope with the end of free coffee
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...