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Widening bribery scandal engulfs Spain's leader

Photo courtesy of WikipediaAn influential newspaper in Spain has published what it said were handwritten documents detailing 19 years of secret payments to leaders of the prime minister's Popular Party.

Mariano Rajoy, left, allegedly took €25,200 every year 1997 from a property developer, according to Madrid-based El Pais.

He's been in government service since 1996, including as minister of the interior from 1996 until 2004.

In 2011, Rajoy's party won a landslide victory and he became prime minister in December that year.

The alleged bribes coincide with the real estate and development boom in the country.

Two Popular Party treasurers, Alavaro Lapuerta and Luis Barcenas, the paper reported, kept secret accounts that detailed alleged bribes and illegal donations from well- known entrepreneurs and companies, including many from the construction sector.

Among those implicated are Luis del Rivero, vice-president of Sacyr Vallehermoso (€120,000 in 2004) and  Juan Miguel Villar Mir, President of OHL (donating €100,000, €180,000 and €250,000 in 2004, 2006 and 2008, respectively).

El Pais also reported that periodic payments went to the Popular Party's general secretaries and undersecretaries. At least six were named.

Spain is reeling from an economic slump. Unemployment is now over 26% and citizens are facing drastic austerity measures.

Anti-corruption enforcement, long neglected by the law enforcement authorities, is now regarded as one of the main causes behind Spain’s financial collapse.

More than 300 politicians and public officials now stand accused in corruption cases pending throughout the country.


Maria Dolores Hernandez J. is a researcher for ethiXbase.

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