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Spain’s Prime minister at the heart of payment scandal

The Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy has been forced to deny that his ruling People’s party is at the heart of a corruption scandal, refuting claims that he received underhanded payments made by business donors and other party leaders after the El Pais newspaper published what it believes to be secret documents.

The Spanish newspaper published photographs of decade old handwritten accounts which it claims were maintained by the People’s party treasurers. The documents are thought to show that companies and builders paid large sums of Euros to Rajoy and other party leaders.

Rajoy is shown to have received 25,200 Euros annually for eleven years, before becoming prime minister in 2011. Another three former PP leaders received similar amounts.

The party denied the reports saying; “The People’s Party has no knowledge of the handwritten notes that were published and of their content, and it cannot be recognized, in any case, as this political party’s books.”

El Pais said that the documents had been written under treasurers Luis Barcenas and Alvaro Lapuerta. Barcenas who managed the party’s finances from 2008 to 2009, reportedly had up to €22 million in a Swiss bank account.

The scandal is set to reach deep into the heart of the government and could not have come at a worse time for Rajoy. The Prime minister is facing a decline in his popularity after Spain posted another set of dire economic figures.

Spain was shown to have sunk even deeper into recession after it saw its GDP shrink by 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2012. Rajoy has imposed strict austerity measures upon the Spanish people but it has done little to alleviate the nation’s troubles. Spanish retail sales fell by 10% over the Christmas highlighting the difficulties many Spanish families are facing.

To prove his own and his party’s innocence Rajoy announced an audit of their accounts. Rajoy told the newspaper that he would not comment on the documents until the audit was finished. Five other ministers deny receiving illicit funds.

As of 12:10 pm

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