The National Court has sentenced Luis Bárcenas , ex-treasurer of the PP, to two years in prison , as a necessary cooperator of a continuing crime of accounting falsification, considering it proven that he paid in black for the reform of the headquarters of the popular, located at number 13 of Genova street (Madrid). The court figures at more than one million euros the amount of money that the former treasurer transferred to the Unifica company, which carried out the works, and which was not declared.
Likewise, it considers once again proven the existence of a box b that Bárcenas himself managed, gives truth to certain annotations of the former treasurer’s papers and condemns the PP as a subsidiary civil liable for not exercising “adequate control” over the management of Bárcenas.
The former manager of the PP, Cristóbal Páez, and Unifica’s partner, Laura Montero, are acquitted and Gonzalo Urquijo and Belén García , architects and partners of Unifica, are sentenced to two years and 9 months in jail and a fine of 2.6 million of euros, for a crime against the Public Treasury.
The case began to be tried on Monday, February 8, eight years after the papers of the former treasurer came to light. In 2015, Judge Pablo Ruz, instructor of the case, pointed to the existence of box b of the PP, which was nourished by donations from businessmen.
That money is what was used to pay for the works of the headquarters without being declared to the Treasury . The trial was seen for sentencing on May 12. During the more than thirty sessions held, Bárcenas offered to collaborate with the Justice, even sending a letter to Anti-Corruption in which he acknowledged irregularities in the financing of the PP.
The headquarters of the PP on Genova street in Madrid, in a file image.
As the main defendant, the Criminal Court of the Hearing considers him a necessary cooperator of a continuing crime of accounting falsehood together with a crime against the Public Treasury related to the Corporation Tax of 2007 of the company that undertook the works and therefore imposes on him a fine of 1.2 million euros, in addition to the prison sentence.
According to the ruling, in 2005 the PP decided to undertake the remodeling of the building that housed the headquarters, for which Unifica was hired . The management of the works was assumed by Bárcenas, who was already sentenced to 29 years for the first part of the ‘ Gürtel case ‘, in whose judgment the National Court already considered the existence of box b of the PP as proven in 2018.
In parallel, Bárcenas and Urquijo agreed “that a part of the payments corresponding to said works would be paid with the funds b that they managed, agreeing to apply a discount by Unifica of between 7% and 8% of the amount. of the works paid with such funds, with the consequent savings for both the PP and Unifica in the fulfillment of their tax obligations “. Of course, the court applies a mitigating sentence to Bárcenas as this ” real, active and effective collaboration ” has been accredited to clarify the facts and their perpetrators, although the judges emphasize that they were the records carried out at the headquarters of the PP and from the construction company those who provided decisive data for the investigation.
The Bárcenas papers contain truthful annotations
This collaboration and the records have allowed the Chamber to relate how Bárcenas managed the cash funds contributed to the training as private donations ” through a parallel accounting of whose income and expenses was not recorded in the official accounting.” According to the sentence, it was the ex-treasurer himself who controlled the income from the donations, as well as the expenses, on sheets with handwritten annotations, known as Bárcenas papers. These papers did not have a systematic record of entries and exits, which caused them to have balance errors that detract from their veracity.
Building of the headquarters of the PP, located on Genova street, in Madrid (Spain), on July 24, 2020.
The PP faces its crisis by leaving the headquarters in Genoa: “We must not continue in a building under investigation”
This is not an obstacle, however, so that movements such as transfers to official donation accounts, deliveries of money “to certain people linked to the Popular Party” or the payments of the reform have been accredited, says the Hearing, made by the one that condemns Bárcenas and the formation then directed by Mariano Rajoy , who appears mentioned three times in the sentence although in minor citations. Bárcenas, for example, accused him of destroying the papers in front of him, but this point was not proven.
Regarding the veracity of the papers, which were questioned by the PP, the Chamber concludes that as an accounting document they lack value “in their entirety” , but they do “include some events that are real or credible as long as they have been corroborated. with other evidence. ” This version was the one exposed by the Unifica defense when they assured that it did not have to be all truth or all lies. “There is another option and it is that some annotation is true ,” adds the court to this thesis. The same version defended the Prosecutor’s Office, which asked for five years in prison for Bárcenas and which pointed out that the papers were “truthful” while warning of the “contradictions” of the main accused.
The PP did not exercise “adequate control” over Bárcenas
As for the PP, the Criminal Chamber does not believe that the commission of a tax offense against the Public Treasury in 2008 can be considered proven, although it does condemn him as a subsidiary civil liable of 123,669 euros that Luis Bárcenas did not pay for Corporation Tax of Unifica of 2007. The magistrates point out that the popular formation did not exercise “an adequate control over the management of Bárcenas, being the measures adopted by the PP after the facts prosecuted.
The party has reacted to this condemnation with silence . The formation has communicated that it will not make statements, in line with the decision of its president, Pablo Casado, who in February affirmed that they would not give explanations on “any past issue that corresponds to a personal action that has not been for the benefit of the party.” It was then that he communicated his intention to change headquarters and leave the historic Genoa, a move that has not yet materialized.
From the PSOE they have indicated that the sentence shows “that the corruption in the PP is not past”, but that it is “systemic” . “A corrupt party cannot be an alternative to the Government of Spain,” the PSOE spokesman in Congress, Héctor Gómez, said at a press conference. The Secretary General of Podemos and Minister of Social Rights and Agenda 2030, Ione Belarra , has pointed out that it is “the second time that the PP has been convicted of corruption” and has considered that “the best thing for democracy is that citizens keep them as far away from the government as possible. ” Edmundo Bal , spokesman for Ciudadanos, has summoned Casado at a press conference to show his face and answer if he is going to collaborate with justicein the cases that are still pending against his party and to restore the money stolen from the public coffers.