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Bárcenas' hard-drive formatting investigated in court
thinkSPAIN , Saturday, January 16, 2016

THE case of Luis Bárcenas' wiped hard-drives has been reopened by Madrid Provincial Court after a judge accepted an appeal filed by several associations and political parties.

When the former PP treasurer at national government level was arrested and the court ordered the party to hand over his computers in connection with a racket involving cash-in-hand bribes from companies for public works contracts shared out between high-ranking members, investigators found the hard-drive of one had been scrubbed clean and another was missing altogether.

The PP insisted that this was standard practice whenever an employee left, and the court filed the incident.

But the parties United Left (Izquierda Unida, or IU), The Greens (Los Verdes) and Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) along with the Association for Justice and Society appealed against this.

“The provisional archiving of the case was adopted withouth practising any diligence in investigating the facts, which prevented any contrasting information being presented to discard, mitigate or uphold allegations of evidence being destroyed,” the appeal notice states.

Now, the Provincial Court says the 'decisive answer' lies in analysing the documents originally stored before the disk was formatted, and finding those who did so.

It also recognises that any possible offence of attempting to conceal evidence must be investigated in a parallel, or separate inquiry to that of the original corruption case under scrutiny.

The disks were destroyed in the summer of 2013, and before this was archived by the court, the PP argued that the case of the wiped files was 'unfair' as they had 'no chance of self-defence'.

“This situation is even more serious given that it appears that it would allow the appellants, political parties with an evident interest in ruining the public image of the PP, to supply, ex novo, documentation in their possession,” says the right-wing party's defence solicitor.

“It is therefore clear that a reconstruction, as requested by the appellants, should not be carried out behind the PP's back as it would undermine the party's guarantees of a fair trial.”



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