THERE was a great deal of fun and games on September 13 when it was confirmed that the Supreme Court had decided to open an investigation into the activities of former Mayor of Valencia and current Senator Rita Barberá who it alleges may have been involved in money laundering whilst mayor for the benefit of the Partido Popular.
The matter was originally considered in April by a lower court in Valencia but because Mrs Barberá is a senator, she like 10,000 others received special protection from prosecution but the Supreme Court has stepped in and confirmed that it will take over the case.
The judge who will be investigating this case – which alleges that some €200,000 appears in PP accounts without proper explanation especially as unaccounted for sums appeared in the run up to elections in 2004 and 2011- is a former Public Prosecutor from the time that José Luis Zapatero the PSOE leader was Prime Minister which may bode ill for those being investigated.
When initially asked about the Senator’s position by a journalist, following the announcement, interim Prime Minister declined to answer but Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera was very quick to publicly remind everyone of his party’s position with regards to matters of political corruption and to ask whether Mrs Barberá would resign as such a resignation would be in accordance with the agreement signed between the two parties prior to the abortive vote of confidence.
It may well be that without any chance of ever achieving a positive vote of confidence Mr Rajoy doesn’t really mind that Mr Rivera may withdraw his support although it must still be somewhat embarrassing for this decision to have been made.
Naturally a spokesman for the opposition PSOE party Óscar López was also anxious to establish their credentials by joining in the ‘debate’ by saying that this investigation was only to be expected and was another example of the way that senior members of the PP were bringing the Senate and Parliament generally into disrepute.
He went on to say that it does seem unlikely that she will be made to resign as she probably knows a great deal about what has gone on in the party in the past.