Spain’s Rajoy testifies as witness in major graft trial


MADRID (AP) – Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is standing Wednesday as a witness in a major trial of some 40 people accused of involvement in a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme that helped finance his ruling Popular Party.

Rajoy is not accused of any wrongdoing, but the National Court has called for him to provide testimony as the party’s vice secretary general until 2003, and secretary general until 2004, when the illegal scheme was allegedly still operating.

Wednesday’s hearing is the first time a Prime Minister appears in court while holding office since Spain transitioned to democracy four decades ago.

The case centers on the dealings that Francisco Correa, a businessman arrested in 2009, made through a network of aides and companies to arrange free events for the Popular Party in exchange for public contracts.