Six former high ranking Spanish government officials are being investigated by authorities over alleged corruption surrounding the sale of government-owned artworks, including two paintings by the Spanish master Francisco Goya, with a total worth of around €14 million or £11 million, reported Spanish daily newspaper ABC.
Former education secretary Eva Almunia, and her husband Carlos Eso, oversaw the purchase of five paintings purchased with public funds between 2006 and 2010, while they were both in office – both served in the cabinet in Spain’s Aragones region.
It now turns out that the paintings were bought for twice their market price, while Almunia, Eso and at least four other government officials acted as intermediaries in the acquisition under the guise of the company Plaza, which was founded in 2006, only eight days prior to the paintings’ acquisition – which was its sole purpose, according to ABC.
One of the Goya paintings entitled ‘La Letra con Sangre Entra’ was purchased from Madrid’s Caylus Gallery for €2.5 million or £1.9 Million by the Aragones government with the fledgling company Plaza acting as an intermediary – in 2006, yet the painting had been auctioned for about half that price four years earlier. The other artwork by Goya entitled ‘Retrato de Don Luis María de Borbón y Vallabriga’ was purchased by the Aragones government via Plaza, for €10 million or £7.9 million.
The investigation surrounding the purchases will trace where these funds went; and whether the reason for the inflated prices happened to be a result of mishandling. The current situation is the latest in a series of corruption allegations involving high ranking political figures in Spain. Politicians from Spain’s main parties PP and PSOE have traded accusations of corruption, as the far-left populist party Podemos overtook both of them in the polls earlier in the week, becoming Spain’s most popular party only half a year since its creation.