1664781199 The judge announces that a company founded 16 months ago

The judge announces that a company founded 16 months ago offers to prepare the final report in the “Neurona case” against Podemos

Pablo Iglesias, then Podemos leader and presidential candidate, during a campaign rally for the April 2019 elections.Pablo Iglesias, then Podemos leader and presidential candidate, during a campaign rally for the April 2019 elections.CATI CLADERA

Juan José Escalonilla, judge in the Neurona case, has informed the parties that a company founded just 16 months ago has offered to draft the final report of the investigation that continues to indict Podemos. For almost 11 months, the judge has been looking for an expert to draw up this document, in which he wants to know the price for the services of the Mexican consultancy Neurona, in order to compare it with the 363,000 euros paid by the party. But so far he hasn’t found anyone who can do the job, and about half a dozen professionals have turned him down. In fact, the offer of this company, IP Peritos Informático SL, comes just when the instructor had received a new rejection: the Association of Political Communication (ACOP), headed until the summer by the former Director of Communications of the Socialist Pedro Sánchez, it was also discarded to perform the titration.

More information

The 42nd investigative court of Madrid, headed by Escalonilla, reported Tuesday that it had received the offer from IP Peritos Judiciales SL’s two Madrid-based administrators, Eduardo García and Luis Navas. According to the commercial register, this company was founded on May 27, 2021. The company sent its proposal to the magistrate on September 7 this year after learning that it could not find an expert to prepare the report on Neurona’s work in the April 2019 federal election campaign, according to an email from the press.

In the documentation sent to the judge, to which EL PAÍS had access, the company emphasizes that it is able to “face the case”, although it would need the help of other companies to take the part of the social networks and of the ‘audiovisual’ part to analyze and create videos’ — for which they would turn to an SME, for example —. “If necessary, I have colleagues who have been involved in advising on communication campaigns in Latin American countries,” adds the offer of IP Peritos Judiciales SL, where one of its administrators adds: “I have an Advanced Degree (FP) in Graphic Design and Editorial Production . After working at Atenea’s security and defense magazine. I currently have a company dedicated solely to expertise in the field of computer forensics.”

“We did media reports like that of Francis de Teruel [sic]. And we participated in the Abengoa case as technical support for the PE judicial expert,” adds the letter sent to Escalonilla. The judge has not yet informed the parties whether he has made a decision on the offer, according to legal sources.

The report that no one accepts

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This expert worries the court, which has been trying to move it forward for almost a year. Escalonilla believes it’s a key piece, and for that reason agreed in November 2021 to produce the report on Neurona’s work, which he himself already considers accredited: 48 graphic designs, 48 ​​videos, and reporting on seven acts of choice—too to which a further 143 files must be added, which the Madrid Court has also ordered to be taken into account -. Despite everything, Podemos criticizes that this order does not include all services, since the company offers “a global political, electoral and audiovisual consulting service”.

The training also claims that in a market society it is difficult to calculate costs. “Prices are not tariffs or tariffs […] Developing specific products is not the same as having a full campaign team that can cover all areas and is available 24/7 […] Neither all offices nor all professionals demand the same for their services,” writes the person concerned in a letter. The prosecutor also believes that this report will not be of much significance: “We understand that the political formation can enter into contracts with the providers it deems suitable and it is possible that the costs cannot be reliably determined. “

Since November of last year, Judge Escalonilla has approached various professionals to adopt the report. Vain. It has contacted at least two experts, two professional associations and one of communications. But nobody wanted to make it. One of them told EL PAÍS: “It has to be done by an expert in electoral affairs, audiovisual affairs, campaigns or marketing. Someone involved in advertising, journalism… I’m an industrial engineer. I’ve never done an opinion of this kind and I don’t know it either.” The professional association of the Autonomous Community of Madrid also informed him that he did not have a “trained expert” after graduating from the College of Telecommunications Engineers and the College of Political Science, Sociology, international relations and public administration for help.

The latest rejection came from the Association of Political Communication (ACOP), which until the summer was headed by Verónica Fumaral, Pedro Sánchez’s former communications director. On September 14, that body sent a letter to the court to “reject” the order for “failure to meet requirements”: “ACOP is a not-for-profit association and not a commercial one. We do not carry out activities such as video editing, nor do we participate in election campaigns as an association,” explained the current President, Óscar Álvarez.

Two years of research

The Neurona case turned two years old in July. The cause was born as a macro process, but it is drained. The judge opened seven investigations, six of which were shelved – in addition to three other derivatives, such as the nanny case, all of which have already been filed. The investigations ruled out, among other things, the alleged bonuses on Podemos’ positions, the diversion of funds from the Solidarity Fund or irregularities in the reform of the headquarters. Only the main part of the summary is still alive: the Neurona contract, where the judge initially suspected that the formation paid more than 360,000 euros for projects never carried out. However, now that part of them is accredited, let’s check if the works match the price paid.

In this respect, the pending expert report for the magistrate is central. In addition, on July 27, pending receipt of this document and another police report, the investigation into emails from Juan Carlos Monedero, founder of Podemos, was closed. Once he receives them, Escalonilla must decide whether to file the case or prosecute someone.

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