We can reproach the judge in the “Neurona case” for “redirecting” his investigations against the party | Spain

On the left, the current leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra;  and in the center, Pablo Iglesias, his predecessor, in a ceremony last October.
On the left, the current leader of Podemos, Ione Belarra; and in the center, Pablo Iglesias, his predecessor, in a ceremony last October.Jesús Hellín (Europa Press)

We can charge against the investigating judge of the Neuron case, Juan José Escalonilla, for “reorienting” his investigations against the party, opened in the summer of last year and which have come to add six secondary lines of investigation that have ended up archived. Through an appeal filed on November 23, to which EL PAÍS has had access, the training opposes the expert opinion ordered by the magistrate to calculate the cost of the work carried out by the consulting firm Neurona that have already been considered “accredited ”. The political force maintains that, if the process was opened on the suspicion that this Mexican company never provided these services, it is only now possible to close the case once “the tests carried out have ruled it out.”

Escalonilla concluded earlier this month that Neurona, hired by the training for the general elections of April 2019, produced 48 videos for the Podemos Facebook page and 48 designs of “physical and digital images for the campaign”. He also clarified that the consultant was in charge of the “coverage of events” only when the party could not assume them due to “lack of means”, despite the fact that it was signed that this task would be his responsibility. Therefore, as recorded in a car of November 12, the judge ordered an expert opinion to assess these works and compare it with the price paid, which amounted to 363,000 euros.

We can not only assure that Neurona’s work was much broader —for example, it contributed 1,400 “products” (in reference to works such as videos, images, promotions) to try to prove it—, and adds that its services included a “ global political, electoral and audiovisual consulting service ”. The formation reproaches Escalonilla for having introduced “a new factual hypothesis (an alleged excessive price)”, which is a “fact that is materially and formally different from the fact that such services do not exist.” The party has also accused the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the Police of exceeding its investigation into this case.

In parallel, Podemos affirms that, if the expert witness is not revoked, it cannot be limited to the work described by the judge. “[Neurona] It came to reinforce the work carried out by the Podemos team, as a complementary team in all its own areas (logically, with greater or less intensity depending on the needs of each one of them) in an electoral campaign process ”, says the training. And he adds: “In addition, the expert must also take into account the availability and intensity of the activity in an electoral process of these characteristics, of state scope; and other elements such as the confidentiality of the services, the number of people who are members of the Neurona team, the advisory service on the basic lines of the campaign and the relevance of said services, among other factors ”.

“Finally, despite the fact that the magistrate has already advanced that he has no intention of studying the prices agreed with the rest of the consultants from other parties, we consider that it is essential for the expert to assess whether the price of Neurona is adjusted to reasonable market terms, ”emphasizes Podemos, which asks that the Court of Accounts be required to provide the information it has on the services provided by consultants during the April 28, 2019 campaign for the rest of the political forces.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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