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Spain's Attorney Says PM Rajoy Could Be Quizzed

By CIARAN GILES

MADRID (AP) â¿¿ Spain's top prosecutor says there is sufficient cause to investigate fresh allegations of irregular financing of Spain's governing Popular Party and that if necessary Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would be called in for questioning.

Attorney General Eduardo Torres-Dulce was responding to the publication by leading newspaper El Pais of the so-called secret papers of former party treasurer Luis Barcenas, allegedly documenting payments of under-the-table money to leading members, including Rajoy, over many years. The money was allegedly paid by businesses, many in the construction sector.

El Pais, reporting on the allegations for a second day Friday, said nearly two thirds of the payments violated Spain's old party financing law.

Speaking on 13TV television late Thursday, Torres-Dulce said a decision on opening a fresh investigation or possibly incorporating the allegations into one already under way will be taken within days.

The Popular Party denies the documents have any connection with the party and secretary general Maria Dolores de Cospedal, one of the alleged recipients has said, "we have absolutely nothing to hide."

Opposition parties have demanded Rajoy break his silence of recent days and some have even called for his resignation and elections.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria declined to answer questions on the issue after a weekly Cabinet meeting Friday, claiming it was a party matter but said Rajoy would speak after a specially convened party executive committee meeting Saturday.

She denied the scandal had affected the stability of the government and made a strong defense of Rajoy's character and behavior.

"I have worked with Mariano Rajoy Brey for 12 years, first in government, then opposition and then government, and what I have seen in those 12 years has always been exemplary behavior. He has never broken any rules and has always been an example, to those of us who worked him, of an upright life in serving the public," she said.

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