The European Public Prosecutor's Office demands an investigation into the central core of the 'Begoña Gómez case' | Spain

The European Public Prosecutor's Office took charge of the central part of the judicial investigation on Monday in which she is accused Begoña Gómez, wife of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez. The EU body that oversees the prevention of fraud in the management of European public funds by member states has sent a letter to the judge investigating the case, Juan Carlos Peinado, informing him that it is taking over the investigation, it said advanced The confidential and EL PAÍS confirmed this. If Luxembourg prosecutors take this step, it is because they have concluded that money from the EU budget was involved in the case, but that does not mean that the agency has found evidence of a crime so far. Judge Peinado can refuse to transfer the case and if that happens, the Supreme Court must resolve the jurisdictional conflict, as in the case Koldo case.

Like the Madrid court, the European Public Prosecutor's Office received a letter from Clean Hands at the beginning of this year asking it to investigate the collaboration of the wife of the President of the Government with businessmen who have received government aid. He then launched preliminary investigations to find out whether any EU money might have been compromised, which is where the order issued last week to access the Guardia Civil headquarters and gather information should be formulated.

The European Public Prosecutor's Office has the power to investigate crimes taking place in Member States where Community funds are at stake. And in the case of the case opened against Begoña Gómez, the European cases are involved in the central core of the investigation, namely the investigation relating to the 10 million euros in aid received by a Temporary Business Association (UTE) who has ties to the businessman. Juan Carlos Barrabés, with whom the wife of the President of the Government had worked professionally. The Provincial Court of Madrid ordered Judge Peinado to set aside the rest of the facts reported by Manos Cleans, considering them “implausible”, full of “erroneous data” or the result of “simple suspicion”, but he supported an investigation into the awards received by Barrabés.

The Court states that at that moment “sufficient objective data appears to legitimize the opening of the investigation”. The suspicion is mainly based on a letter of recommendation in favor of Barrabés, signed by the president's wife, which accompanied thirty other similar letters, including one from the Madrid city council. However, a Civil Guard report was delivered to the instructor, and that EL PAÍS was moving forwardfound no evidence that these writings influenced the contracts later awarded to this businessman.

Once the European Public Prosecutor's Office has claimed responsibility for the investigation, the judge must stop its investigation and send the case to the community body. However, if the instructor does not agree with this decision, he or she can appeal to the Spanish Supreme Court, which will have the final say. The Supreme Court has so far resolved two jurisdictional disputes between the Spanish courts and the European Public Prosecutor's Office, established in 2017.

In the first, the Supreme Court's rapporteur, Judge Antonio del Moral, did not clarify whether in all cases where the European Public Prosecutor's Office claims jurisdiction for itself, the European Public Prosecutor's Office should be granted jurisdiction and the case referred to the investigating judge. He explained it as follows: “Community law gives the European Public Prosecutor's Office the option to exercise or not to exercise its jurisdiction over certain – only a few – cases. But a system in which the free will of an actor in the trial, however reasoned and judiciously exercised, would as a rule be granted the ability to decide for itself which body would have jurisdiction over the prosecution. “it would be questionably compatible with the right to an ordinary court previously determined by law,” and “who and under what provisions will conduct the investigation.” “The rules drawn up to delimit these powers are particularly complicated, tortuous and obscure,” said the magistrate, who expected that it would be possible that at some point the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) EU) should be consulted to resolve any issues. doubts that arise.

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The Begoña Gómez case marked the final part of the election campaign for the European elections. Since it was announced last Tuesday that Judge Peinado has called her to testify on July 5, the political debate and campaign have followed that path.

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