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Madrid court says investigating Spain PM's wife for graft

By AFP

April 24, 2024 03:16 PM


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A Madrid court said Wednesday it had opened a preliminary investigation into the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on suspicion of influence peddling and corruption.

In a brief statement, the court said it had "opened an investigation into the alleged offence of influence peddling and corruption in business against Begona Gomez".

It said the investigation began on April 16 and was "subjected to a secrecy order".

It gave no further details but the statement was issued several hours after online news site El Confidencial published a story saying investigators were looking into Gomez's ties to several private companies that ended up receiving funds and public contracts from the government.

It said the probe was linked to the alleged ties she had with Spanish tourism group Globalia, which owns Air Europa.

These are alleged to have taken place when the carrier was in talks with the government to secure a huge bailout after it was badly hit by the plunge in air traffic due to the Covid-19 crisis.

At the time, Gomez was running IE Africa Center, a foundation linked to Madrid's Instituto de Empresa (IE) business school, a position she left in 2022.

El Confidencial said IE Africa Center had "signed a sponsorship agreement with Globalia in 2020" and that Gomez had also "held a private meeting with its CEO Javier Hidalgo at the company's offices. At the same time Globalia was negotiating a multi-million euro bailout with the government".

In November 2020, Sanchez's government offered a 475-million-euro lifeline to Air Europa.

Asked about the story in parliament on Wednesday, Sanchez said he had faith in the justice system.

"On a day like today, after the news I've heard, despite everything, I still believe in Spain's justice system," he said.


AFP


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