New minister for Culture resigns after tax fraud scandal revelations

Huerta on Wednesday.
Huerta on Wednesday. / AFP
  • The former TV journalist Màxim Huerta paid a penalty of more than 200,000 euros for avoiding taxes by setting up a company

Pedro Sánchez's new Socialist government took a blow on Wednesday after Màxim Huerta resigned as minister for Culture and Sport amid a tax scandal.

An article published by the online newspaper El Confidencial revealed that Huerta, who was sworn in with the rest of the new cabinet last Thursday, had been penalised with a fine of more than 200,000 euros in 2017, for taxes that he should have paid in the period between 2006 and 2008. He had set up a company through which he invoiced for his television and other work, paying less income tax than he would as an individual taxpayer.

This was, he pointed out on Wednesday, common practice among artists and presenters, and the inspections carried out in 2016 were described as a “witch hunt”.

Initially he argued that he had now paid all his debts with the taxman and that the fraud he was accused of was in the past.

However later on Wednesday evening he appeared to announce his resignation “to prevent a pack of hounds from destroying this project”, with reference to Pedro Sánchez's new government.

He was quickly replaced as minister of Culture by José Guirao, who has held a number of top positions in the world of culture, among them director of the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid.