• José Manuel Soria forced to resign in wake of Panama Papers scandal
• Career ended for opponent of renewables, proponent of fracking in Spain
A journalist’s discovery last week of offshore accounts in Jersey forced the resignation of Spanish Industry Minister José Manuel Soria, one of the principal opponents of renewable energy and a major proponent of fracking and offshore gas and oil drilling during the 2011-15 conservative Partido Popular administration of President Mariano Rajoy.
The discovery came at the end of a four-day feeding frenzy that led the Spanish press from finding Soria’s name listed in the Panama Papers leaks, to alleged offshore accounts in the Bahamas and finally irrefutable proof of his participation in a company registered in the Channel Islands as late as 2002, while he was then-Mayor of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands.
Soria, seen as principally responsible for driving an energy policy under the Rajoy government that favored Spain’s huge publicly listed oil and gas companies Endesa and Gas Natural at the expense of renewable energy sources, was caught out on multiple discrepancies in his explanations of links to the offshore accounts and forced to resign as acting Industry Minister, as a member of Spain’s Congress Deputies and as president of the Partido Popular in the Canary Islands.