The Barcenas Nightmare

Nightmare for the Partido Popular, that is, because the said gentleman was a conservative member of the Spanish Senate and the treasurer for the party on a national level – corruption investigations have unearthed that besides being a prime suspect in the Gürtel scandal, he also stashed away 22m euros in Switzerland.

Just when it looked as though things couldn’t be any worse for the governing party, it now seems that this gentleman might have taken advantage of the already controversial tax amnesty scheme and laundered some of his allegedly ‘dodgy’ money through it.

The amnesty scheme has been controversial because it basically means that if you have not been paying all the taxes that you should have, you were given the opportunity to declare the existence of such money and pay the tax on it. Hacienda hoped to rake in around 2,500m euros, but by the time that the time limit expired, they had only taken 1,200m euros. This was partly because as time ticked by and nobody was coming forward, the Government made several changes, to make the idea “more attractive.”

This meant that those that had up till then dodged paying tax, only had to pay three percent, whereas the average wage earned pays around 20%. So the message was, if you behave, you pay more.

The Minister for Taxes (Hacienda) said that if somebody was being investigated for tax evasion, corruption etc, then the tax amnesty was null and void in their case, therefore, assured, Minister Cristóbal Montorro, “it is irrelevant if Sr. Barcenas took advantage of the amnesty.

When the Government announced through a Royal Decree that it was going to initiate a tax amnesty period, it met with total rejection by all opposition parties, barring a Catalan regional party.

So with the controversy of permitting a tax amnesty in the first place, coupled with failing miserably to produce the amount of money projected by the Government, and, to boot, the possibility that Sr. Barcena, hitherto Senator for the PP and top-ranking party member passed allegedly stolen funds through the PP’s tax amnesty, generously provided by a PP Government… you can understand why it is “The Barcenas Nightmare.”

If all this weren’t enough problems for the Government, the latest accusations launched are that top members of the PP (including cabinet members) have been receiving ‘salary top ups’ in unmarked envelopes from Barcenas, and he is renowned for meticulous record keeping…

(News: Spain)