16th July 2024
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Corruption investigation testimony of Spanish PM’s wife, Begoña Gómez, suspended

Begoña Gómez, wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, arrived at a Madrid court to testify before a judge on Friday as part of a preliminary corruption probe into her business ties, but the hearing was suspended with a new date set for 19 July.

Last month, a Madrid court summoned Gómez to testify ‘as an investigated party’ as part of a judicial inquiry into ‘the alleged offences of corruption in the private sector and influence peddling’. ALSO READ: Spanish PM’s wife, Begoña Gómez, summoned to testify in corruption probe.

The case has infuriated the socialist (PSOE) leader who says it is politically motivated.

Gómez arrived at the Madrid court shortly before 10.30am on Friday to enter a closed hearing before judge Juan Carlos Peinado, who is running the preliminary investigation. But one of her lawyers successfully pushed for the suspension on the grounds that she had not been informed of all the charges against her, according to Spanish media reports.

The preliminary investigation was opened on 16 April following a complaint filed by the anti-graft NGO Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), which is linked to the far-right.

The right-wing People’s Party (PP) opposition has pounced on the affair as proof of their claims that Sánchez and his left-wing coalition government are corrupt. But he has denounced it as a smear campaign.

Earlier this week, Sánchez told Cadena SER radio he was feeling ‘totally calm and confident’ because there was ‘absolutely nothing’ in the allegations, denouncing ‘a legal strategy of harassment aimed at overthrowing’ his government.

Along with the Catalan amnesty law, the Gómez affair has complicated life for Sánchez, whose brother is also facing an investigation triggered by another Manos Limpias complaint, prompting a barrage of right-wing criticism. ALSO READ: Spanish government slams ‘trumped-up’ charge against PM’s brother.

When news of the investigation into his wife broke at the end of April, Sánchez shocked Spain by saying he was considering resigning over what he described as a campaign of political harassment by the right. After five days of reflection, he ultimately decided to stay on. ALSO READ: Pedro Sánchez announces his decision to continue as Spanish prime minister.

Madrid prosecutors appealed to have the case thrown out for lack of evidence, but they were overruled, with the investigating judge issuing the July summons just days before Spain voted in the EU elections.

ALSO READ: Begoña Gómez, wife of Spanish PM, investigated over alleged corruption.

ALSO READ: Spanish prosecutors question credibility of corruption investigation against PM’s wife.

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