The new Culture & Sports Minister, Maxim Huerta, paid his taxes as TV presenter in an irregular manner, El Confidencial reported on Wednesday, and in 2017 was ordered by the regional High Court in Madrid on appeal to pay tax authorities nearly a quarter of a million euros in unpaid revenue, plus interest and late fees.
Mr. Huerta owned a limited company which he used to invoice his services and tax authorities decided in 2012 following an inspection that he had declared expenses in 2006, 2007 and 2008 that were incompatible with income tax, which is how the money should have been treated.
El Confidencial reported the personal expenses booked by the company included the purchase and upkeep of a beach home in Alicante.
The irregular treatment of expenses and the unpaid tax were not considered a criminal matter.
The new socialist Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez—who took power less than two weeks ago with a motion of no confidence against Mariano Rajoy that was based on a major corruption judgement condemning 29 people related to the Popular Party (PP) to 351 years in jail for a broad range of fraud crimes—came under immediate opposition pressure to sack Mr. Huerta, who has only been in his new job since last Thursday.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias said the Culture & Sports Minister had to go "immediately".
"We are not going to encourage behaviour reminiscent of the PP, if Maxim Huerta tried to defraud the tax authorities, he has to go immediately and if not Pedro Sánchez has to sack him."
The Popular Party also called on Mr. Huerta to resign.
PP spokesman Fernando Martínez-Maíllo tweeted "It's 9 a.m and the Culture & Sports Minister, convicted of defrauding the tax authorities, had neither offered explanation or resigned".
Mr. Huerta told a radio programme he was not about to resign and that the matter was related to his business activities before becoming a minister last week.
"This is not about me as a minister. It was about Maxim Huerta and it happened to me like it happened to so many other journalists and creators when the tax authorities changed their criteria. I paid what I had to pay and that's that. There was no bad faith", he said, adding that: "I accepted my responsibility as a citizen".
The civil judgement, though, said the court did not "appreciate good faith".
In October 2014, Mr. Huerta said on his Twitter account—a source of great merriment for Spanish Twitter users since last week—that "I don't like it when they resign. I like it when they are sacked. Resignation implies dignity".
Sources at the Prime Minister's office, Moncloa, told El Español that "the public explanations of the Culture Minister have been clear".
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