News / Europe

Corruption Accusations in Spain May Hamper Economic Recovery

Former Popular Party's treasurer, Luis Barcenas, arrives at the anti-corruption prosecuting office in Madrid, Feb. 6, 2013.
Former Popular Party's treasurer, Luis Barcenas, arrives at the anti-corruption prosecuting office in Madrid, Feb. 6, 2013.
Caroline Arbour
In Spain, new details keep emerging in a corruption scandal that reaches to the top ranks of the ruling party.  Some analysts believe the Bárcenas affair and the numerous other cases of political dishonesty coming to light could spell trouble for the country's economic recovery.  There was some evidence last week recent revelations were shaking investor confidence when Spain's debt costs rose after months of relative stability.  Any setback for Spain could send shockwaves throughout the eurozone.  
 
When Spanish newspaper El País published handwritten ledgers two weeks ago indicating the ruling Partido Popular operated a secret slush fund for years benefitting top party officials like Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the party fought back, questioning their authenticity.

This week El País reported that handwriting experts confirmed the documents were genuine and there was no indication of tampering.

Plus, there were revelations that the party continued until December to make severance payments to the man at the center of the scandal, the party’s former treasurer.

And this, even though Luis Bárcenas has been under investigation since 2009.

It is just the latest in a string of allegations of corruption that have been making news headlines in Spain in recent months, making austerity measures a tougher pill to swallow for Spaniards.

Jesús Lizcano, president of Transparency International Spain and an economics professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, says the corruption scandals are certainly affecting Spain´s image and are not helpful in attracting foreign capital.

But Lizcano believes their overall impact on investor confidence will be limited.

He notes that in the Transparency International latest corruption perception index, Spain ranked 30th out of 176 countries.

Not bad, he says, even though there is room for improvement.

Some market analysts are predicting rough times ahead, however.

News of the Bárcenas affair caused Spain´s debt costs to increase slightly last week.

Bond prices are still low, but Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital in London, says they may rise to critical levels.

He says the eurozone crisis is not over and investors may pressure the European Central Bank to definitively act to put an end to it with its bailout plan.

“I think any risk, political risk, or further deterioration in economics, will cause the market to have a push of these yields up to six percent to see whether there is appetite for Draghi and the ECB to actually activate the program," said Rundle.

Rundle says a bailout would have “massive” consequences.

“France isn´t really in a position to do the bailout and it´s going to come down to Germany to decide how the eurozone is going to be shaped in the coming years," he said.

A bailout may be what the markets wish for, but it´s not something either Spain or Germany want and the tone at the meeting between Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy and German Chancellor Angela Markel last week was positive.

Meanwhile, Spain is working on polishing its credibility.  

The government introduced a transparency bill last fall.

And this week Prime Minister Rajoy stated the law would not only apply to public institutions, but also to political parties.  

Critics have argued the bill is hard to be enforced, but that with some amendments, it is a good start.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs