The Madrid judge investigating Podemos, Juan José Escalonilla, has just shelved one of the three lines of investigation that are still alive in the ‘Neurona case’, the one related to the alleged bonuses through salary supplements that, according to the complaint that the case originated, the party manager, Rocío Esther Val, allegedly charged; and the treasurer, Daniel de Frutos. In a March 11 order to which elDiario.es has had access, the judge concludes that there are no irregularities in the remuneration of both employees. The file is not firm.
Monedero denies having charged a commission from Neurona and dissociates himself from Podemos’s contract with the consultancy
The existence of these alleged “bonuses” was the subject of a complaint by the lawyers confronted with the party leadership, José Manuel Calvente and Mónica Carmona, who questioned the increases in the payroll of Val and De Frutos through the implementation of two salary supplements, as well as well as through the reimbursement to them of travel expenses or other concepts that they considered “undue, disproportionate and for unauthorized concepts”.
Judge Escalonilla, after carrying out the appropriate procedures, considers that these salary increases are within the law. In his car, he highlights that the party’s Coordination Council approved the salary supplements implemented by the manager and that the alleged commission of a crime of unfair administration is not appreciated. It also underlines that the reimbursement or reimbursement of expenses presented by both for their payment were approved by the Finance and Transparency Team and that “they are not expenses unilaterally charged by said investigated, but expenses approved in their respective areas, therefore no irregularity can be found indirectly ”.
With this provisional file, the ‘Neurona case’ is limited to the investigation into the contract with the consulting firm Neurona Comunidad for the general elections of April 2019, which the judge suspects could have been simulated to divert money from the electoral subsidy; and the inquiries about the so-called ‘solidarity fund’. After the file of judge Escalonilla, the Provincial Court of Madrid ordered on February 16 reopen this investigation considering that there are signs of unfair administration in this fund to which the party leaders donate their salaries to be used for social projects. Specifically, the transfer of 30,000 euros from that box to the 404 Popular Communication Association, linked to several members of the formation, is under suspicion.
Previously, last October, the judge had closed another of the lines of investigation of this cause, the one relating to the alleged irregularities in four contracts of the party with the Portuguese consultancy ADB Europa corresponding also to the general ones of 2019. The magistrate annulled the proceedings that he himself requested after receiving a report in which the Court of Auditors accredits that there are no irregularities in said contracts.
On the other hand, on March 3, Judge Escalonilla agreed to open three “Independent procedures” to investigate the alleged irregularities denounced by Carmona. These three causes, apart from the ‘Neurona case’, will investigate the alleged “use by Irene Montero Gil [ministra de Igualdad] of a person paid by the party as caretaker of their children “; the” alleged charge by Pablo Iglesias [vicepresidente del Gobierno] of the procedural costs “in a case that lawyers and a solicitor paid by Podemos and the donations to two foundations close to the formation, the Pablo Freire popular school and the 25M Foundation, would have won.