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Spain ruling party under fire as court reveals ex-treasurer had $29 million in Swiss account

Spain's government spokeswoman and deputy premier Soraya Saenz de Santamaria reacts to a question during a news conference at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Friday Jan. 18, 2013. Spain's conservative government is battling to defend itself and its Popular Party after a court revealed a former party treasurer amassed euro 22 million ($29.31 million) in a Swiss bank account. Saenz de Santamaria fended off a barrage of questions from journalists Friday by denying she knew anything about the money or newspaper reports that ex-treasurer Luis Barcenas also gave party members large sums in under-the table payments. She skirted questions as to whether Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy or other government members may have received money. (AP Photo/Paul White)The Associated Press

Spain's ruling Popular Party is struggling to defend itself after a court revealed that a former party treasurer amassed €22 million ($29 million) in a Swiss bank account.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria faced a barrage of questions from journalists Friday and denied she knew anything about the money or newspaper reports that ex-treasurer Luis Barcenas also gave party members large sums in under-the table payments.

She deflected questions as to whether Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy or other members of the conservative government received money.

The National Court says an investigation into irregular payments by companies to party members in return for business contracts uncovered that Barcenas had five Swiss accounts. Barcenas, a former senator, resigned in 2010 months after he was first named in the investigation.