27 Oct, 2023 @ 13:09
2 mins read

Vox diverted €11m of public money to a foundation and private company, claims former high-ranking member of Spain’s far-right party

Macarena Olona Flickr

A FORMER high-ranking politician from Vox has claimed that the far-right party has diverted as much as €11 million of public money to a foundation and private company with links to other members of the group. In her comments, Macarena Olona challenged the party to take her to court if the claims were untrue.

Speaking during a radio interview on state broadcaster RNE, Olona – who was the general secretary of Vox in Congress and their candidate for regional premier in Andalusia – claimed that the money had been paid to a foundation called Disenso. 

The president of that organisation is Vox president and lawmaker in Congress, Santiago Abascal

She also claimed that funds had ended up in a company called Tizona Comunicación. According to Spanish daily El Pais, this firm is owned by Kiko Mendez-Monasterio, who is the personal consultant for Santiago Abascal, as well as Gabriel Ariza, the son of Julio Ariza, the trustee of El Toro TV, a political television channel that acts as a mouthpiece for Vox. 

Macarena Olona Flickr
Macarena Olona in a file photo.

So far, Vox has refused to respond to the claims. Its current general secretary, Ignacio Garriga, said that he did not want to ‘contribute to a narrative that is science fiction’. 

Olona shared her interview with RNE on X (formerly Twitter), with a post that read: “It’s easy, there are two options: 1. If I am lying, then they take me to court. 2. If I am telling the truth, then they produce the paperwork. If there is nothing to hide, we will see each other in court. No, this isn’t science fiction.”

Macarena Olona, who is 44 years old and a state attorney, has just released a book of memoirs in which she recounts her time within the Vox party, which is currently the third-biggest group in the Congress of Deputies, after the conservative Popular Party and the Socialist Party. 

In it, according to El Pais, she describes her experiences of rampant sexism within the group as well as an occasion when she was forced by the party leadership to vote against a proposal in Congress to ban therapies that treated homosexuality as an illness. 

Vox was founded in 2013 and began to garner support in the mid-2010s. At the general election in November 2019, the party achieved shock success, taking 52 seats in the 350-seat Congress and becoming the third biggest political force. 

Before the general elections of July 2023, however, it released an extreme right-wing party manifesto, something that analysts believe cost it support. Its presence in Congress fell to 33 seats, quashing its hopes of forming a coalition government with the conservative Popular Party (PP), given that the groups were short of a majority and could not muster sufficient support from other parties.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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