MADRID, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has been called to appear as a witness in the ongoing trial over the "Gurtel" cash for favors corruption scandal, local media reported Tuesday quoting judicial sources.
He will be the first Spanish prime minister ever to be called as a witness in such a case, though the date of the appearance has yet to be announced, according to media reports.
Magistrates at Spain's High Court decided to call Rajoy as a witness in a trial in which his right-wing People's Party (PP) was deeply implicated for allegedly accepting bribes in return to awarding lucrative public contracts.
These bribes were then used to run a slush fund controlled by former PP Treasurer, Luis Barcenas, which was then used to finance election campaigns.
The magistrates argued that as the General Secretary of the PP at the same time as Barcenas was the party treasurer, Rajoy should have been aware of Barcenas' activities.
As well as controlling the slush fund, known as the "B-Box", Barcenas is also accused of having moved millions of euros into Swiss bank accounts.
In the handwritten lists of accounts he kept of transactions there is also a record of a cash payment made to Rajoy, while the prime minister also sent a text message to the former PP Treasurer urging him to "be strong Luis" after Barcenas' arrest three years ago.
The petition for Rajoy to appear as part of the case was filed by the Association of Democratic Lawyers for Europe (ADADE), who argue that the public has the right to "hear the highest-ranking officials" involved in the case.