Spanish authorities are actively investigating rumors that Iran’s regime heavily financed the activities of the country’s Podemos political party, according to Spanish media sources.
The Union of Economic and Fiscal Delinquency, La Unidad de Delincuencia Económica y Fiscal (UDEF), an investigative arm of the country’s National Police has launched a detailed probe in determining whether the party accepted €5m Euros from Iran in exchange for influence in the country’s political and economic arenas, El Confidencial, a Spanish newspaper said.
Podemos’ secretary general Pablo Iglesias continues to defend his party’s transparency.
“We are glad that the UDEF is investigating this matter and are at their disposal,” Iglesias, whose party surprised all in a 21 percent win of the total Election vote in December, said.
Iglesias founded the left wing populist party in March 2014 in reaction to national protests against inequality and political corruption.
Podemos’ success is in part because of a combining of forces with left-wing nationalists and its promise to bring variety and plurality to Spain’s long-standing political system.
Iglesias, 36, who worked as an advisor to his ‘hero’ President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, currently hosts a TV talk show on Hispan TV, a channel funded by the Iranian government.
“Iran has had its tentacles in Spain for quite some time,” Joseph Humire, executive director of Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) said.
“Iran has been busy building its legitimacy through its dedicated, state-owned Spanish broadcast network Hispan TV, and Iglesias from Podemos was Iran’s mouthpiece for Spain through his show on that network,” Humire said.
Recently, Spain’s political infrastructure faced significant shifts in the two party-system which has dominated for decades, with the rise of a multi-party system with a nebulous future.
Right-wing Partido Popular (PP) and the center-left PSOE (Socialists) parties traditionally would work out compromises with nationalist groups in Catalan and Basque. There is still a stalemate, however, in forming a government, as those who have won seats are still struggling to form a majority.
According to Spanish law, it is illegal for parties to receive political donations from foreign governments.