Neurona case and the judicial persecution against Podemos in Spain

Case Neurona has been one of the most controversial episodes in the history of Podemos, the left-wing political party in Spain. Juan Manuel del Olmo, Podemos’ campaign manager in the April 2019 general elections, has been a central figure in this macro judicial case that has recently been archived.

For more than three years, Del Olmo has been investigated for the hiring of the Mexican consulting firm Neurona, in a case that he himself describes as a real “judicial persecution”.

Instrumentalization of justice

According to Del Olmo, the Neurona case has been an example of “lawfare” or legal warfare, used with the aim of wearing Podemos down. The former high-ranking party official argues that all the elements used to describe the Neurona case were designed to establish a parallel with the corruption of the Popular Party (PP), using terms such as “caja b” and “sobresueldos”.

Del Olmo points out that this strategy was aimed at damaging Podemos’ reputation and provoking electoral attrition.

Unfounded accusations

Throughout the investigation of the case, several accusations have been made against Podemos and its members, all of them denied or filed. Del Olmo emphasizes that the judge did not rely on solid evidence, but on unfounded testimonies and allegations.

Lines of investigation involving the payment of bonuses, inflated costs in the reform of the headquarters and the diversion of money from the party’s solidarity fund were shelved. The last part of the case, which dealt with the hiring of Neurona for the electoral campaign, was also shelved.

Impact on the relationship with the PSOE

Podemos’ relationship with the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) was affected by the Neurona case. Although the PSOE initially showed its support, the uncertainty generated by the judicial offensive had an impact on the relationship.

Del Olmo points out that a climate of media pressure was created that affected both President Pedro Sánchez and the ruling party. However, he considers that the Podemos electorate is vaccinated against this type of accusations.

Media-political-judicial war

Del Olmo argues that the Neurona case is just one of the episodes in a “media-political-judicial war” against Podemos. He refers to the connection between certain elements of the Security Forces and certain people located in the editorial offices of the main right-wing newspapers in Spain.

According to him, dangerous lines have been crossed, such as the Niñera case, which involves the alleged use of Podemos workers to care for the daughter of Irene Montero and Pablo Iglesias.

Figure of Juan José Escalonilla

Del Olmo does not dare to affirm that Judge Juan José Escalonilla has prevaricated, but he highlights certain aspects of his actions that he considers suspicious. He points out that Escalonilla has obtained certain rewards and has been invited to events to which he had not been invited before.

However, he doubts that any judge will convict him of prevarication, since judges tend to protect each other.

Personal impact and the future

After three years charged in the Neurona case, Del Olmo recognizes that these situations have conditioned his life. However, he does not regret having entered politics and affirms that he would do it all over again.

Although he recognizes that judicial persecution tries to instill fear and make one give up, Del Olmo is determined to continue defending his ideas. Now, out of the leadership of Podemos, he plans to launch his professional project related to communication.

Conclusion

Neurona case has been a controversial experience for Juan Manuel del Olmo and Podemos. The former campaign manager has faced a judicial persecution that he considers a strategy to wear down the leftist force.

Despite unfounded accusations and archived investigations, Del Olmo has no regrets about his involvement in politics and is determined to continue defending his ideas. Podemos’ future and its relationship with the PSOE are still influenced by the Neurona case and the media-political-judicial war that surrounds it.