Spanish PM ‘Suspends All Public Duties’ After Wife’s Corruption Scandal

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is under pressure to resign as his wife is investigated for corruption and influence peddling. The socialist Prime Minister claims he is subject to political persecution and said a Madrid court launched proceedings against his wife, Begoña Gómez, at the request of a “far-right” group known as Clean Hands, or Manos Limpias. Sanchez added that his wife would cooperate with the investigation but denied wrongdoing.

The Prime Minister furthermore announced that he would postpone official duties for a week and is considering his resignation. He accused his political rival Alberto Núñez Feijóo, leader of the conservative People’s Party, of collaborating with far-right groups to “bring about his collapse” by targeting his family.

Political colleagues supported Mr. Sanchez, including Labor Minister Yolanda Díaz, who said, “This right-wing offensive can’t get its way.”

The body that initiated the investigation, Manos Limpias, is headed by Miguel Bernad, who is said to have links with right-wing groups. The organization says it is a national trade union committed to ensuring judicial independence and democratic principles.

In 2021, Mr. Barnad, who has initiated several lawsuits against public figures for corruption, received a four-year prison sentence for extortion. The Supreme Court subsequently reversed the sentence, however, citing a lack of evidence.

In the latest allegations, Manos Limpias claims Begoña Gómez received favors from business associates who, in turn, were granted government contracts and paid with public money.

Specifically, it claims that Air Europa benefited Gómez while she was director of an African research center at IE University between 2018 and 2022. The company later won a government bailout of around $500 million as it struggled financially following the coronavirus pandemic. Neither Air Europa nor Ms. Gómez has commented on the allegations.

IE University has confirmed that it obtained four flight tickets from Air Europa in 2020 as part of a sponsorship deal but emphasized it did not receive any cash payments.

Mr. Sanchez said his wife will “defend her honor.”