Thursday, October 28

Bárcenas case: Rajoy and Cospedal join Aznar and will testify by videoconference in the trial of box b | Spain

María Dolores de Cospedal and Mariano Rajoy, at a meeting of the PP executive in 2016.
María Dolores de Cospedal and Mariano Rajoy, at a meeting of the PP executive in 2016.Uly Martin

Plasma acquires even more prominence in the trial of box b of the PP, which has been held in the National Court since last February 8. The court has accepted that Mariano Rajoy, former president of the Government and the party, and María Dolores de Cospedal, former Minister of Defense and former secretary general of the popular, testify by videoconference next week at the oral hearing, when they are summoned as witnesses. An option that has also been accepted by José María Aznar, former head of the Executive and leader of the formation for 14 years, as well as his ministers José María Michavila, Federico Trillo and Ángel Acebes – the latter, already appeared online this past Monday.

All of them will avoid, therefore, the traditional walk in front of the cameras stationed in front of the judicial body and the questions of journalists. It has also been granted to Pío García-Escudero, former president of the Senate, and Jaime Ignacio del Burgo, former deputy. The magistrates have approved his request under a law issued last September to prevent coronavirus infections in the Administration of Justice. Said regulation provides that, until June 20, 2021, preference will be given to telematic appearances in cases of this type.

The oral hearing enters a week of enormous political significance as of next Tuesday. That day, according to the calendar of the Hearing, an intense parade of high popular positions begins before the magistrates. As of ten o’clock in the morning, three former general secretaries of the PP are called to testify: Javier Arenas, Francisco Álvarez Cascos and Cospedal; the former Balearic president and former minister Jaume Matas; two former deputies (Del Burgo and Eugenio Nasarre); and García-Escudero. On Wednesday, the main course arrives with the statements of Aznar, Rajoy and Michavila, among others. And on Thursday he will continue, for example, with Trillo and former vice president Rodrigo Rato.

For Rajoy it will not be an unknown scenario. The one who was president of the popular between 2004 and 2018 already appeared as a witness in the trial on the main plot of the Gürtel case, known as Epoch I. Then (2017), he was still President of the Government and he went in person to the National Court, where a special lectern was set up to answer questions from the parties. For his part, it is the first time that Aznar, who led the political force from 1990 to 2004, has been called to testify. During the terms of both, box b was operational.

“It seems cowardly to me not to show my face”

During his statement as the accused, Luis Bárcenas, former treasurer of the PP, already mentioned many of these names: “Francisco Álvarez Cascos, Javier Arenas, Mariano Rajoy, María Dolores de Cospedal, Jaime Mayor Oreja, Federico Trillo, Ángel Acebes, Rodrigo Rato .. . ”, Listed the former party finance officer who, according to what he said and his accounting notes reflect, received bonuses from a box b nourished by irregular donations from businessmen, and of whose system all the former presidents and former secretaries general of the party were aware .

The trial focuses, among other aspects, on the existence of parallel accounting in the PP between, at least, 1990 and 2009. The Supreme Court has already considered it accredited in the ruling on Period I. “We have financed ourselves irregularly and we knew what we were doing, “Bárcenas confessed last week, when he charged against the former leadership of the party:” At a time when everyone is out of politics and political responsibilities cannot be demanded of them, it seems cowardly not to give face”.

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