The judge of the ‘Neurona case’ appoints an expert for the final report after 15 months searching | Spain | The USA Print

Pablo Iglesias, during the closing ceremony of the days of the Autumn University of Podemos, in 2022.david foundling

After 15 months searching, the judge of the neuron case already has an expert to prepare the final report of the investigations. The magistrate Juan José Escalonilla has chosen Aleix Sanmartín, who worked for the Andalusian president Juan Manuel Moreno (PP) and for the PSOE. As EL PAÍS advanced, this consultant applied a few days ago to prepare the document, which must calculate the price of the work provided for Podemos by the Mexican company Neurona in the general elections of April 2019, to compare it with the 363,000 that he paid the match. The instructor himself had proposed it last November, but Sanmartín did not answer in the affirmative “until a few days ago.”

Through a resolution dated this Wednesday, to which EL PAÍS had access, Escalonilla communicates to the parties the appointment of Sanmartín and summons him on March 1 to formally accept the assignment and swear in the “position of expert”. Sanmartín helped Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla to achieve an absolute majority in Andalusia in 2022 and has developed a tool for the PSOE. According to his website, he, in turn, has worked for leading international leaders, such as Andrés Manuel López Obrador, current Mexican president; José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Tabaré Vázquez, former presidents of Spain and Uruguay respectively. “And also with the president of Extremadura, Guillermo Fernández Vara; with the president of the Region of Murcia, Fernando López Miras; and with the president of the Valencian Community, Ximo Puig ”, says his website.

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This expert report had become a real headache for the magistrate, who has been trying to push it forward since November 2021. Until now, almost a dozen professionals and associations had refused to take it on.

The judge, who opened the neuron case In the summer of 2020, after receiving a complaint from a former Podemos lawyer —José Manuel Calvente, in conflict with the leadership—, he investigated Podemos’ relationship with the Mexican consultancy Neurona. At first, Escalonilla suspected that the formation paid the company 363,000 euros for services that it never provided. But, after proving the existence of work done by the Latin American company, the magistrate turned the investigation around and is now investigating whether the price paid to Neurona was inflated. To do this, he wants that expert report to be drawn up, to calculate what the cost should be.

However, both the Prosecutor’s Office and Podemos affirm that it will not be of much use. “We understand that the training can contract with the providers that it deems appropriate and it is possible that the cost cannot be reliably determined,” the public ministry said. “Prices are not rates or tariffs (…) It is not the same to produce specific products than to have a complete campaign team that can cover all areas, available 24 (hours a day) / 7 (days a week) (…) Neither all offices nor all professionals charge the same for their services”, added the left-wing political force.

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This report is the missing piece. On July 27, the judge already closed the investigation period for the case, but has not yet decided whether to file it or prosecute someone. As he indicated, he will not do it until he receives the expert document.

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