Saturday, June 22, 2024

WORLD | 22-05-2024 13:37

Spain PM Sánchez defends wife after Milei's 'corrupt' jibe

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez defends his wife against graft allegations, just days after President Javier Milei escalated a diplomatic row by calling her "corrupt."

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez defended his wife against graft allegations on Wednesday, just days after Argentina's president sparked a diplomatic row by calling her "corrupt" at a conference of far-right leaders in Madrid.

Last month a judge opened a preliminary criminal inquiry into suspicions that Begoña Gómez had used her position to peddle influence, based on a complaint by an anti-graft pressure group, Manos Limpias ("Clean Hands"), which is linked to the far right.

A second complaint against Sánchez's wife was then filed by another pressure group linked to the far right, Hazte Oir.

Sánchez told parliament he was confident the judge would soon shelve these "two false complaints" because "they are only mud, a collection of fake news, defamations, manipulated information and veiled accusations".

"My wife is an honest professional, serious and responsible, and my government is clean," the Socialist premier said.

Sánchez had initially reacted to the news of the criminal inquiry by suspending his public duties for five days to weigh his future, before saying that he would stay on.

On Sunday, Argentina's President Javier Milei told a Madrid conference organised by Spanish far-right Vox party that Sánchez had "a corrupt wife" and had taken "five days to think about it".

The Spanish government on Tuesday announced the "definitive" withdrawal of its ambassador to Argentina after its fiery libertarian leader refused to apologise for his comment.

Milei instead recommended "a psychologist" for Sánchez and "a good lawyer for his wife".

The allegations against Gómez focus on her professional links with the Spanish tourism group Globalia, which owns Air Europa, when the airline was seeking a huge bailout in the wake of the Covid pandemic.



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