Rajoy dragged deeper into cash claims

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Spain’s top prosecutor has said there is sufficient cause to investigate fresh allegations of irregular financing of Spain’s governing Popular Party and that, if necessary, the prime minister will be called in for questioning.

Attorney-general Eduardo Torres-Dulce was responding to the publication by El Pais of the so-called secret papers of former party treasurer Luis Barcenas, allegedly documenting payments of under-the-table money to leading members, including Mariano Rajoy, over many years. It was allegedly paid by businesses, many in the construction sector.

El Pais, reporting on the allegations for a second day yesterday, said nearly two-thirds of the payments violated Spain’s old party financing law.

Mr Torres-Dulce said a decision on opening a fresh investigation, or possibly incorporating the allegations into one already under way, will be taken within days. The Popular Party denies the documents have any connection with it and secretary general Maria Dolores de Cospedal, one of the alleged recipients has said, “we have absolutely nothing to hide”.

Opposition parties have demanded Mr Rajoy break his silence of recent days and some have even called for his resignation and elections.

Deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria declined to answer questions on the issue after a weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday, claiming it was a party matter but said Mr Rajoy would speak after a special party executive committee meeting today.

She denied the scandal had affected the stability of the government and made a strong defence of Mr Rajoy.