Spain ruling party ex-treasurer sent to jail in corruption case

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 27, 2013 2:38 PM

By Teresa Larraz Mora

MADRID (Reuters) - A former treasurer for Spain's ruling People's Party was sent to jail without bail on Thursday as the High Court continues a pre-trial investigation into corruption charges against him.

Examining Magistrate Pablo Ruz wrote in his order that Luis Barcenas - who worked for the People's Party for almost three decades, mostly in the accounting department - was a flight risk due to the serious charges he faces and the amount of money he has in offshore accounts.

Barcenas is the central figure in two major corruption scandals that have damaged the credibility of the ruling party and angered Spaniards who are struggling with a deep recession and high unemployment.

The 55-year-old is charged with money laundering, bribery, tax fraud and other crimes in Ruz's long-running investigation into a group of businessmen who put on campaign rallies and other events for the People's Party in exchange for kickbacks.

Ruz wrote in his 24-page order that he has unearthed more than 48 million euros in bank accounts linked to Barcenas in Switzerland and other countries.

Barcenas has repeatedly said he is innocent and that his money came from legitimate business activities.

(Reporting by Teresa Larraz; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Julien Toyer and Pravin Char)