Venezuela Pays Thousands to Podemos Cofounder for Consulting
Español Cofounder of Spanish progressive party Podemos, Juan Carlos Monedero, billed a total of €425,150 (US$487,200) to the governments of Bolivia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Ecuador for consulting services, according to information revealed by El Plural on January 19. Monedero has admitted that much of his profits went to fund pro-Podemos media initiatives.
The news adds to mounting evidence of ideological and financial links between the Venezuelan government and the Spanish political movement, widely tipped to take as much as 25 percent of the vote in December’s elections.
Data from the Spanish business registry reveals that Monedero, a political science professor at Madrid’s Universidad Complutense, provided consulting services to several Latin-American governments, ostensibly to offer advice on the creation of a regional common currency.
He charged for his services under the company name Caja de Resistencia Motiva 2 Producciones SL, which, according to accounts, has no employees nor any formal structure, and operated for nine weeks alone in 2013, yet held a pre-tax account balance of some €365,442 (US$418,778). When contacted by press, Monedero said that the sum was in payment for services rendered over the course of three years.
The president of the union of Spanish Finance Ministry workers also claimed that consultants regularly bill clients for an amassed period of work, rather than submitting frequent receipts for smaller increments. The official also added that Monedero was not required to include VAT statements, as his work took place outside of the European Union.
As the controversy broke, Monedero declined to publicize further documents and billing statements, citing strict confidentiality clauses. “Strategic government information cannot ever be divulged,” he said, and defended himself against allegations of deliberate opacity. “No one is more transparent than we are,” he said.
Monedero’s one-man company was founded in October of 2013, as an economic research and market survey foundation. The money raised for the consulting services was used to fund online television channel La Tuerka, which broadcasts a show via digital media outlet Público, according to the Podemos director. He also uses the firm to receive royalties for his book Crash Course In Politics for Decent People, now in its second edition.
Monedero labelled accusations that his company provides a front to Venezuelan government funding, designed to bolster support for Podemos and its policies, a “smear campaign” authored by “the extreme right.”
“I do not recall there ever being so many attacks and lies told about a political party in a modern democracy,” he added.
Source: El Pais.