Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he was prepared to testify in a probe regarding his wife. (Ton Molina/Getty Images)


Spanish PM ‘willing to testify’ over corruption scandal allegedly involving his wife


Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he was prepared to testify in the opposition-dominated Senate about his wife’s alleged involvement in a corruption scandal.

On April 4, the premier signalled his willingness to go before the Upper Chamber, saying he had “no problems with accountability”.

“If I have to testify, I will testify,” Sánchez said.

“This is part of the democratic game.”

According to an investigation by Spanish news outlet El Confidencial’s, Sánchez’s wife Begoña Gómez allegedly lobbied on behalf of two private companies during the height of the Covid pandemic to secure Government contracts that amounted to €10.2 million.

Gómez allegedly issued written letters to endorse the joint venture of these two companies.

Both companies had financial troubles at the time the economy ministry awarded them three contracts to provide “training services for youth employment in the digital economy”.

The then-deputy prime minister and current President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Nadia Calviño led the ministry at the time.

The Gómez-recommended venture received a 9.23 score (out of 10), topping all 17 other proposals.

One of the venture’s shareholders, Carlos Barrabés, founded a master’s programme in Madrid’s Complutense University on “Competitive Social Transformation”, of which Begoña Gómez is currently director.

Barrabés allegedly connected Gómez with executives of Air Europa, a Mallorca-based airline company.

Air Europa admitted in March Gómez met one of the company’s directors between June and July of 2020.

Four months later, the Government approved a rescue mechanism for companies impacted by the Covid pandemic. Air Europa received €475 million under that scheme.

The Government insists Gómez’s recommendations did not have any impact on the adjudication of these contracts.

Government spokeswoman and education minister Pilar Alegría said the adjudication process “was impeccable”.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera said the accusations against Gómez were part of a “permanent personal attack” on her husband.

The opposition leader and President of the centre-right People’s Party Alberto Núñez Feijóo ruled out calling Gómez to testify in the Senate. “The problem is her husband’s conflicts of interest,” he said.

“I would not like to call in the woman of the Prime Minister,” Feijóo added.

“It is not my way of doing politics. Not my style.”

Sánchez’s Government has been marred corruption scandals since the start of this year.

The Spanish National High Court revealed in late February that an advisor for Sánchez’s former transport minister José Luis Ábalos MP received commissions from contracts aimed at procuring masks during the pandemic.

The advisor, Koldo García, allegedly amassed €1.5 million in assets over that period which, according to the Court, “did not match his income from official activities”.