Spanish PM publishes tax returns amid corruption scandal

Spanish PM publishes tax returns amid corruption scandal
# 10 February 2013 02:00 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday took the unusual step of publishing details of his earnings and tax returns on the official government website to tackle a corruption scandal, APA reports.

The Spanish leader declared gross earnings of almost 2 million euros (2.7 million U.S. dollars) for the period 2003-2012. These earnings consist of what he was paid by his Popular Party (PP) and his earnings for sitting in the Spanish Congress.

Rajoy also declared his property, shares and savings, which increased fourfold to over 230,000 euros between 2003 and 2007.

Rajoy used the website of the Prime Minister's residence in Madrid to quell reports that he and other members of his Popular Party had received illegal cash payments hidden from tax authorities.

The scandal came to light after the former PP Treasurer Luis Barcenas was discovered to hold a Swiss bank account containing 22 million euros, which is thought to have been related to another corruption case, the "Caso Gurtel."

Rajoy denied the accusations at a bizarre press conference a week ago, saying they were "false" and promising to publish his tax returns. But his words did little to dispel doubts.

However, the fact that he failed to appear in person before the press, choosing instead to broadcast his words via a TV screen wheeled into the press room and the fact that there were (obviously) no questions, were frustrating for those present and for the majority of Spaniards.

Rajoy has also faced heavy criticism this week for his decision to stand by, rather than sack, Health Minister Ana Mato after she has been linked to the "Gurtel" case over recent days for receiving gifts such as trips abroad and parties for her children.

The prime minister's failure to take action has been seen as a lack of leadership, missing a chance to show his willingness to tackle corruption and restore the confidence of Spaniards and foreign investors in his country.

Many question Rajoy's Saturday move, because all he has declared are his official tax returns, while what he and other PP members are alleged to have taken illegal cash payments, which by definition are not going to appear on any tax returns given that they were not declared in the first place. (1 euro = 1.34 U.S. dollars)

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