* Graft scandals deepen public's anger over spending cuts
* Former People's Party treasurer in closed-door hearing
* Revelations about Barcenas severance pay embarrass Rajoy
* Barcenas charged with bribery, money laundering, tax fraud
MADRID, Feb 25 The former treasurer of Spain's
ruling party, at the heart of a corruption scandal that has
politically damaged Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, appeared in
court for questioning on Monday about millions of euros he
deposited in Swiss accounts.
Luis Barcenas is charged with using his position to take
bribes, evade taxes by hiding the proceeds in Switzerland and
launder money through shell companies, charges that carry prison
sentences of up to six years and fines.
The long-running High Court investigation of Barcenas and a
graft case involving the son-in-law of Spain's king have enraged
Spaniards at a time when deep recession has pushed unemployment
to 26 percent and the government has slashed public spending.
Barcenas got out of a car outside the courthouse and entered
the building in central Madrid at 12:20 p.m. (1120 GMT) for the
closed-door hearing. He did not speak to the dozens of
Prosecutors asked High Court Examining Magistrate Pablo Ruz
to put Barcenas, 55, on bail and restrict his movements.
Barcenas, an avid mountaineer who once scaled Everest, went
skiing in Canada two weeks ago, according to media reports.
Barcenas's lawyer declined to comment on those reports.
In Spain's legal system, lengthy pre-trial investigations
are carried out by examining magistrates such as Ruz. A trial
could still be months or years away for Barcenas.