Should the Spanish Supreme Court investigate deputy prime minister Pablo Iglesias? The Spanish state's highest court is about to deliberate this question and has now asked public prosecutors what they think of the matter. This follows a request to the Supreme Court from judge Manuel García Castellón of the National Audience court, who has been investigating the open-ended case of José Manuel Villarejo, the former Spanish police commissioner who was a "dirty ops" specialist with, it seems, a finger in almost every pie: the affairs of Juan Carlos I's former lover Corinna, Operation Kitchen involving alleged PP espionage, the state's illicit Operation Catalonia targeting the independence movement, to name just a few
So how did Iglesias, leader of Podemos, junior partner in Spain's coalition government, come under the spotlight aimed at Villarejo and his multifarious activities? Because in 2019, Villarejo was found to have in his possession a copy of the information from the smartphone mini-SD card belonging to former Podemos activist and Iglesias advisor Dina Bousselham, from a phone that she had reported stolen in 2015. The investigation which then ensued joined several dots, revealing that not only had information from the files on Bousselham's smartphone been published in Spanish right-wing media such as OK Diario and El Confidencial, but that in January 2016, Pablo Iglesias had himself received, from the magazine Interviu, a copy of the mini-SD card containing professional and personal files relating to Podemos and Iglesias as well as to the owner, Bousselham. The now-deputy PM is understood to have retained the card for some months before eventually returning it to the owner, in allegedly damaged state.
Within the many-tentacled Villarejo investigation, the National Audience opened a separate file, labelled the Dina case, to examine the use of the data from Bousselham's stolen phone, and judge Manuel García Castellón now wishes to investigate Pablo Iglesias for possible offences of damaging data files, disclosure of secrets to third parties and false allegations about his involvement. As an MP and member of the government, Iglesias has partial immunity and thus would have to be investigated by the Supreme Court, rather than at National Audience level.
Accordingly, the criminal admissions chamber of the Supreme Court asked the public prosecutor's office on Thursday to report on whether it is appropriate to open a case against Iglesias, Bousselham, Podemos MP Gloria Elizo, and Bousselham's former partner Ricardo Sá Ferreira for offences in the context of this investigation.
The National Audience's submission on the matter is already on the Supreme Court's table. The judges who will consider the admission of the case are spokesperson Andrés Palomo del Arco, Manuel Marchena, Andrés Martínez Arrieta, Andrés Palomo, Ana Ferrer and Eduardo de Porres.