4 Jun, 2024 @ 12:21
1 min read

Begoña Gomez in court: Judge calls Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s wife to testify as official suspect in influence peddling case

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday, April 24, that he was ‘reflecting’ on the possibility of resigning after a court opened an investigation into his wife Begona Gomez on suspicion of graft. FILE: SPAIN PRESIDENT PEDRO SANCHEZ//DELUCACEZARO_1904.03554/Credit:Cezaro Da Luca/SIPA/2404251804

A MADRID judge has given the Spanish prime minister’s wife, Begoña Gomez, a court date at which she will have to testify as an official suspect in a highly controversial case filed against her for alleged influence peddling. 

Gomez, who is married to Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez, will have to appear before Judge Juan Carlos Peinado on July 5.

The probe into Gomez was opened by the judge in April, after a case was brought by Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), a pressure group that is usually described in Spain as an anti-corruption ‘pseudo-union’, and which has brought a series of high-profile court cases against public figures in recent years.

The lawsuit, however, was based on press clippings from a series of online news outlets. Some of the accusations in the said stories have already been proved to be completely false. The public prosecutor called for the case to be shelved.

Read more: Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez defends himself and his wife in Congress against influence-peddling accusations

Spain’s Prosecutor’s Office calls for investigation into Pedro Sanchez’s wife to be scrapped
Begoña Gomez.

The deals that Gomez has been accused of influencing include a multi-million bailout for airline Air Europa that was approved by the Cabinet in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as financial assistance from a company called Red.es – which at the time was part of the Economy Ministry – for another firm called Innova Next.

Spain’s Guardia Civil, however, has not found any evidence of wrongdoing by Gomez, according to a report that was leaked to the Spanish press. 

The judge has insisted in pressing on with the probe, however, and the investigation has been given the go-ahead by his Provincial Court. 

The court did, however, insist that the investigation only focus on one element of the case, dismissing the remaining accusations as based on ‘incorrect information’ or ‘simple conjecture’. 

The accusations against Gomez have been used by the main opposition Partido Popular (PP) to attack Sanchez, with party leader Alberto Nuñez Feijoo using the issue to demand fresh elections. 

Back in April, when information about the court case first emerged, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez threatened to quit, taking five days to reflect on his future. 

In the end, however, he opted to stay on and vowed to combat what he has described as ‘mud slinging’ from elements of the press. 

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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