Màxim Huerta stepped down as Spain’s culture and sports minister today after a week in office, following reports that he had been fined for evading hundred of thousands of euros in taxes.
The resignation is an early blow to new socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who took office less than two weeks ago after his predecessor, conservative Mariano Rajoy, was ousted following a major court ruling in a corruption case involving former officials in his Popular Party.
Online newspaper El Confidencial reported earlier today that Huerta had evaded taxes to the tune of some €250,000 between 2006 and 2008 and was ordered to pay a fine.
Huerta insisted that he was “absolutely innocent” and now “up to date” with his payments to tax authorities. He said he made the decision to resign because he did not want to hurt Sánchez’s work.
“I paid this fine twice: First, what the tax authorities asked of me … and now for the second time here because innocence doesn’t mean anything to this pack of hounds,” he said at a press conference, referring to critics who had seized on the report.
“I’m leaving so as not to allow the noise of this pack to divide [Sánchez’s] project which has inspired hope in so many people in this country.”