The noise muddies the facts of the ‘Begoña Gómez case’; investigation finds no crimes | Spain

The noise muddies the facts of the ‘Begoña Gómez case’; investigation finds no crimes | Spain
The noise muddies the facts of the ‘Begoña Gómez case’; investigation finds no crimes | Spain

Politics is entangled in daily dialectical brawls due to a noisy criminal case against Begoña Gómez, wife of the president, Pedro Sánchez. The case was born with little foundation judging by the known facts. Its origin is a complaint from a far-right organization, Clean Hands, based on many press clippings and some fake news. The complaint that has allowed Judge José Luis Peinado to order an investigation does not provide evidence of the crime of influence peddling attributed to Begoña Gómez. Despite this, the instructor promotes the case against Gómez because the events reported, “regardless of whether the source of documentation is the media, deserve to be investigated and are specific facts of actions in which the accused may have had direct participation.” The specific facts are Gómez’s relationships with officials of two companies (Air Europa and Innova Next) that received contracts and public aid from the central government. In the complainant’s story there is no information about the influence that Gómez could have exerted on the entities or officials who awarded this public aid. To find out what the complaint did not provide, the judge requested a report from the UCO, the Civil Guard unit specialized in the fight against corruption. At the same time, he granted Gómez the status of “investigated” to “avoid her defenselessness,” thus being able to appoint a lawyer to defend himself against her.

A known investigation that Sánchez never hid

Eight days after the opening of the case declared secret, April 24, 2024, all the media reported that a court was opening proceedings against Begoña Gómez for alleged influence peddling. In a letter addressed to the citizens published that day, President Pedro Sánchez referred to the previous proceedings opened against his wife and communicated that he was taking five days to reflect on his future. Although Gómez has been under investigation since April 16, 2024, the judge has not yet summoned her to testify nor has she managed to gather evidence of the influence peddling that she is investigating. There are open cases in the courts that are filed due to lack of evidence without the investigator calling the person under investigation to testify.

UCO report: no trace of influence peddling

The Civil Guard investigated by order of the judge in search of the reported signs of crime. A report of 114 pages and six annexes concluded: no trace of influence peddling. The Civil Guard analyzed the contracts awarded to Innova Next, the company of Juan Carlos Barrabés, professor in the Complutense chair directed by Begoña Gómez. That firm participated in a joint venture with another company in a Red.es contest, dependent on the Ministry of Economy. The offer included, in the part valued at 8% points, up to 32 letters of support from companies and public institutions. Begoña Gómez signed one of those letters on behalf of the Complutense; The Employment Department of the Madrid City Council signed another. The Civil Guard found no indication that the award was irregular, nor that there had been influence peddling in favor of Innova, nor that Gómez had a relationship with those responsible for Red.es who intervened in the process.

The Court endorses the investigation because it is credible

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Three judges from the Provincial Court of Madrid allow the judge to continue with the investigation because the account of events in the complaint is credible and “a suspicion based on objective and verifiable data” is sufficient. But they add that if “after the precise verifications and investigations have been verified, the hypothesis is diluted, the immediate file will be agreed upon.” When the prosecution recalls the Civil Guard report that dilutes the hypothesis of influence peddling, the Chamber maintains that it cannot assess “what the instructor has not yet assessed because it would mean invading his exclusive jurisdiction.”

Disjointed complaint, with erroneous facts and conjectures

The Court affirms that the complaint has “disjointed content,” “with an implausible first factual block or with erroneous data.” Furthermore, he considers it “a simple conjecture beyond temporal and personal coincidences” to link Gómez with influence peddling for the rescue of Air Europa with the 475 million loan granted by the Government. But he points out that the letter of support signed by Gómez in favor of Barrabés is objective data from which it can be deduced “that there are indications about the alleged commission of a criminal act.” The Provincial Court believes that “objective indications point to intermediation in the granting of subsidies.” The Civil Guard dismantles this assessment after verifying the facts under suspicion: there is no evidence of Gómez’s intermediation for Red.es to award the contracts to Barrabés.

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