Spanish police report details political corruption

26th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

A corruption scandal involving Spain's opposition party took a new turn Friday with the publication of a police report detailing systematic illegal political financing.

Madrid - A corruption scandal involving Spain's opposition party took a new turn Friday with the publication of a police report detailing systematic illegal political financing.

Two major newspapers, the leftist El Pais and the centre-right El Mundo, both published extracts on their front pages of the report, which implicates the centre-right Popular Party in the eastern region of Valencia, one of its strongholds.

A number of PP members have been under investigation since February in connection with a scandal in which bribes were allegedly paid to the regional governments of Madrid and Valencia by businessmen to ensure contracts.

A court in Valencia last month dropped a corruption probe against the head of the Valencia regional government, Francisco Camps, a senior PP member. Prosecutors have since appealed the decision.

The party's treasurer, Luis Barcenas, who has been questioned by a judge in connection with the scandal, announced in July he was stepping down until he was "proven innocent before the courts."

The police report published Friday details an organised system of hidden financing of the PP in Valencia, through false accounting by a company called Orange Market and implicating construction companies awarded public contracts in the region.

The report said the party's number two in the region, Ricardo Costa, is directly involved in the system.

"This subject is now so serious that it now demands a public explanation," said El Mundo.

"There are two possibilities: That the report is phoney ... or that it is true. In the first case, it implies the resignation of (Interior Minister Alfredo Perez) Rubalcaba, in the second that of Camps."

AFP/Expatica

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