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Spain: judge under fire denies wrongdoing

Spain: judge under fire denies wrongdoing

A Spanish judge best known for indicting Augusto Pinochet and Osama bin Laden denies any wrongdoing after being paid $200,000 for work at a U.S. university while drawing his salary in Madrid, a court official said Wednesday.
Judge Baltasar Garzon insists he acted in good faith, hid nothing and reported both sources of income to tax authorities in both countries, said the official at the National Court, where Garzon is based.
A judicial oversight board is investigating Garzon for allegedly failing to warn his superiors he would be getting paid for teaching and lecturing at New York University during a sabbatical in 2005 and 2006.
Judicial officials say Garzon received just more than $200,000 in salary, travel expenses and school tuition for his daughter during that stay.
Garzon was by then well known across the world for indicting former Chilean dictator Pinochet in 1998 on terrorism and other charges, and then bin Laden in 2003 on grounds the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were planned in part in Spain. He has also handled Basque separatism, drug trafficking and corruption cases.
Garzon says that when he applied for the paid sabbatical the watchdog body, the General Council of the Judiciary, did not ask if he would also be getting paid by the university, the court official said. She spoke on condition of anonymity in line with court rules.
When Garzon applied for the leave of absence, the terms of his remuneration in New York had not been decided, the official said, quoting the judge's version of the events.
Garzon says he declared both sources of income to tax authorities in both countries and this is proof that he did not intend to hide anything, the official said. Garzon has not spoken publicly about the case and was traveling overseas on Wednesday.
Spanish judges must tell the judicial oversight board if they will receive an outside salary during leaves of absence, the board said Tuesday in announcing the probe.
Council investigators have a month to decide whether to drop the case or recommend that Garzon be penalized. Punishment could range from a fine or suspension to outright expulsion from the court.


Updated : 2021-04-14 07:59 GMT+08:00