• Venezuela, Iran said to have channeled funds to Podemos via TV program •
Spain’s new-left anti-austerity party Podemos, which came in third with its coalition partners in the vote count following the country’s Dec. 20th general elections, has come under fire for allegedly receiving funding from the Iranian government through an inflated invoicing scheme involving the “Fort Apache” talk show program, hosted by party leader Pablo Iglesias on HispanTV.
The HispanTV channel, run by an Iranian businessman with funding from the government in Teheran, is a sister channel to TeleSur in Venezuela, where Iglesias and other members of the Podemos leadership have been linked to the government of the late-Hugo Chavez.
As reported by the Spanish daily newspaper El Confidencial, the Economic and Fiscal Crimes Unit UDEF) of Spain’s judicial police force is reviewing documentation provided through a former-Chavez government official currently collaborating with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, allegedly showing that Venezuela and Iran conspired to channel Iranian funding to Podemos in the early stages of the party’s development, in violation of a prohibition on foreign funding of political parties in Spain.
During a press conference this week, Iglesias said that Podemos is “delighted to have the UDEF investigate” and that the party has “transparent” accounts and has made its accounts available in the past for inspection by both Spanish government and independent external auditors.