Murky Money From Iran Puts Pablo Iglesias in the Crosshairs of Spanish Judiciary
360 Global Media, a production company linked to Podemos, received at least 9.3 million euros from companies receiving money directly from Iran
Podemos, the party financed by Chavismo in Spain, is under the scrutiny of the Spanish justice system due to illicit financing scandals, not only from Venezuela but also from Iran.
According to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, 360 Global Media, a production company linked to Podemos, received at least 9.3 million euros from companies receiving money directly from Iran.
According to the reports of the Executive Service of the Money Laundering and Monetary Infractions Commission, the 16 companies under suspicion made 67 deposits in the accounts of the producer in Spain from 2012 to 2015.
But the production company not only benefited from illegal transactions, investigations indicate that at least 23 bank transfers were made from 360 Global Media’s bank accounts to the accounts of the current vice president of Spain, Pablo Iglesias, for a total of 93,000 euros.
The former legal head of Podemos, José Manuel Calvente, presented evidence against the far-left party to the Civil Guard. Consequently, the evidence was handed over to the Court of Instruction number 42 in Madrid, by Juan José Escalonilla, who summoned Calvente to testify as a witness and to ratify his complaint.
Calavante reported the payment of “bonuses” in the party, “about 900 euros a month (600 in payroll and the rest in black) from the treasurer and the manager of the party.” He also claimed that payments were made “without an approved budget” and that the transparency portal had been blocked.
Calvente’s complaint comes as no surprise since, in May 2020, it was revealed that the Chavista regime and Iran used the television channel HispanTV to inject funds into Podemos.
A former high-ranking Chavista official provided evidence that Iran and Venezuela financed Pablo Iglesias through the channel of Iranian businessman Mahmoud Alizadeh Azimi.
“The party is said to have received around five million euros from the Tehran regime through the various television production companies controlled in Spain by Iranian businessman Alizadeh Azimi, who is responsible for broadcasting HispanTV on national territory. The money from the Islamic regime was allegedly transferred to Podemos by inflating the amounts that the party leaders invoiced to Alizadeh Azimi’s companies for the production of different television programs, among them, the debate and interview program ‘Fort Apache,’ presented and directed by Pablo Iglesias himself,” the report says.
The irregular funding of Podemos was agreed between the Chavista regime and Tehran following “the need of both countries to have allied political forces in the heart of Europe to break the blockade imposed by the leading Western powers.”
In November 2017, Enrique Riobóo, a former collaborator of Pablo Iglesias, told the Spanish Senate that the main members of Podemos “had their pockets full of corrupt money from Iran and Venezuela-” money with which they also tried to buy Channel 33.
Riobóo told the Senate that Iglesias and Juan Carlos Monedero financed the Podemos political campaign and that both Iran and Venezuela were sometimes charged in cash with 500-euro notes and other times through bank transfers.
Riobóo, the owner of the television channel Canal 33, explained that both Iglesias and Monedero offered to buy the television channel, the license for which was valued at 1.2 million euros.
He said that while Monedero “advised” Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Iglesias was in charge of obtaining the financing that allowed them to found Podemos, through an important sponsorship with the new channel in Spain, HispanTV, with Iranian capital.
More illicit financing
This is not the first time that possible illicit financing from Venezuela to support the Podemos party has been revealed. In 2014, Ok Diario published an investigation that reveals that the Venezuelan government paid Pablo Iglesias 272,325 USD with state money.
According to the Spanish publication, Iglesias received this amount in dollars in his bank account in the tax haven of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Caribbean islands), under the guise of payment for alleged “social development consultancy” in Venezuela. The payment was made two months after the foundation of the Podemos party in Spain.
In 2016, Rafael Isea, the former finance minister of Venezuela, told Spain’s Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) that former president Hugo Chávez paid seven million euros (7.6 million USD) to the Podemos Foundation.
Isea, who was a minister in the government of Hugo Chávez, ratified before UDEF agents the veracity of a document in which the former president approved allocating this money to create supposed “political forces and social movements” in the European country to bring about “political changes in Spain that are akin to the Bolivarian government.”