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Spain

Spain's Rajoy releases tax returns amid corruption scandal

Spain's prime minister has released a decade of his tax returns in an effort to subdue reports he and other conservative politicians received secret cash payments. However, the opposition is not satisfied.

The government's website on Saturday posted official documents detailing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's income and tax details from the past ten years. His ruling People's Party (PP) on Friday also released four years of financial records in a bid to put the matter to rest.

On January 31, the center-left daily newspaper El Pais published details from documents that had belonged to Luis Barcenas, the former treasurer of Rajoy's party.

According to El Pais, the party and high-ranking officials had been receiving money from a secret slush fund, mostly paid for by the construction industry and hidden from tax officials.

The report alleged that Rajoy had benefited from the so-called Guertel network and that nearly two-thirds of the payments breached Spanish law on party financing.

Rajoy has denied the payments were made and announced that the party is conducting an external audit. However, the scandal has cut support for the PP to the lowest level on record.

Despite releasing his records, the opposition Socialists said Rajoy's published accounts and the PP records did not explain the Barcenas documents. The figures published only go back to 2003, the year that Rajoy took over the PP as election candidate.

Socialist spokeswoman Soraya Rodriguez said Spaniards wanted more than Rajoy's tax records. "Spaniards are fed up of waiting for answers that never come," she told journalists in Valladolid on Saturday.

Spain, the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, is still struggling with a deep recession and unemployment of more than 26 percent.

hc/ccp (Reuters, AP)