Bogota, June 23rd 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The leader of Spain’s leftist PODEMOS party, Pablo Iglesias, has lambasted Venezuela’s National Assembly as “absolutely ridiculous” after it announced that it would pursue an investigation into the financing of his party.
Earlier in June, opposition legislators in Venezuela’s parliamentary auditing commission petitioned Spanish authorities, including the country’s tax office Hacienda and its Fiscal and Economic Delinquency Unit (UDEF), for their collaboration in a financial probe into whether PODEMOS had been in receipt of Venezuelan public funds.
Led by rightwing opposition hardliner of the Popular Will party, Freddy Guevara, the legislators also called on Iglesias and other founders of the party such as Íñigo Errejón and Juan Carlos Monedero to testify before the assembly on July 6th, reports Spain’s El Pais.
“The authority to investigate and follow up on illegal financing are the Spanish courts, not foreign parties,” said the Spanish politician, confirming that he would not give testimony before the South American legislative body.
Under the administration of former president Hugo Chavez Frias, the Venezuelan national government is alleged to have paid more than 7 million euros between 2003-2011 to the anti-capitalist Centre for Political and Social Studies (CEPS) in exchange for political counsel, technical support and training for government staff.
Although CEPS is not affiliated to any party, several founding members of PODEMOS previously worked for the body in a personal capacity. However allegations of wrongdoing have been thrown out five times by Spain’s Supreme Court, as well as by its District Attorney.
“If anyone wants to accuse of us a crime, they shouldn’t call on us to testify in the parliament of another country. Those men are perfectly able to travel to Spain, as they have done many times, and they can lodge a complaint here… and the Supreme Court can give them their answer,” said Iglesias.
The leftist leader also went on to criticise the timing of the announcement as a “show for the media,” as well as a diversion from Spain’s own problems in the run-up to its national elections on Sunday, which look set to deliver sweeping gains to PODEMOS as part of a coalition with the United Left party (IU).
According to Europa Press, acting Spanish deputy prime-minister for the rightwing People’s Party, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, has called on PODEMOS leaders to “fully collaborate” with the legislative body’s investigation.