Spanish court refuses to close corruption investigation into PM's wife

AFP - [email protected]
Spanish court refuses to close corruption investigation into PM's wife
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his wife Begoña Gómez. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

A Madrid court rejected Wednesday a prosecutors' request to close a preliminary corruption probe into Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's wife, indicating there was "sufficient" evidence to justify continuing the investigation.


"There is evidence that an alleged criminal offence was committed" which "goes beyond mere suspicion" and was "sufficient" to let the investigation continue, said court documents seen by AFP.

The decision was taken despite a recent Guardia Civil police report which said it found no evidence of any criminal offence and runs against the recommendation of the public prosecutors' office which on April 25 requested that "the case be closed".


The request came a day after the Madrid court confirmed it had opened a preliminary probe into Sánchez's wife Begoña Gómez for suspected influence peddling and corruption following a complaint filed by an anti-graft NGO linked to the far right.

READ ALSO: Who is Begoña Gómez? Spanish PM's partner thrust into spotlight

The group, Manos Limpias (Clean Hands) says its complaint is based on media reports. It has previously filed a litany of unsuccessful lawsuits against politicians in the past.

The court ruling is a setback for Sánchez but a boost for his right-wing opponents who see the decision as vindication of their allegations that he and his left-wing government are corrupt.

Although the court has not revealed any details about the probe, online news site El Confidencial said it was focused on her ties to private firms that receiving funds or public contracts from the government during the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Spain-Argentina spat rages on after Milei calls Sánchez's wife 'corrupt'

It said investigators were looking at her alleged relationship with Spanish tourism group Globalia, which owns Air Europa, when it was in talks to secure a huge government bailout.

At the time, Gómez was running IE Africa Center which signed a sponsorship agreement with Globalia in 2020.

Sánchez immediately denounced what he said was a political campaign seeking to "harass and discredit" him by "media heavily influenced by the right and far-right" and backed by the right-wing opposition.

Justice Minister Félix Bolaños on Wednesday said the Guardia Civil police report "dismantles all the false allegations (against Gomez), one by one".

"There is absolutely nothing there so the sooner the case is closed, the better," he said.

When the court confirmed the probe, Sánchez said in a shock announcement that he would consider resigning. He took five days to reflect and in the end, decided to stay on.

The opposition denounced the move as pure political theatre, saying Sánchez had never had any intention of stepping down.



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