Spain’s Foreign Affairs minister Josep Borrell has been fined 30,000€ by the securities regulator for taking advantage of private information from a company to order the sale of shares. In 2015, Borrell was a board member of the renewable energy firm Abengoa. He advised a person close to him sell company shares worth €9,030.

According to the securities regulator, his position allowed him to know “price sensitive information that had not yet been disclosed.”

A prominent figure in the government of president Pedro Sánchez, Borrell refrained from challenging the sanction when it was first announced last October, adducing his position as minister prevented him from contravening public institutions. Yet, he said he was in “complete disagreement.”

Widespread calls for Borrell’s resignation

Calls for Borrell’s resignation were widespread, coming both from the opposition head as well as from the main allies of the Socialist government.

“He has no legitimacy to stay as a member of the Spanish government,” said Pablo Casado, the leader of the conservative People’s Party.

Pablo Iglesias, the leader of left-wing Podemos, said he “respected” Borrell for his “intelligence,” adding that the minister has the opportunity to be “exemplary” and leave his post.

The Catalan government also called on Borrell to step down. The minister has been one of the most vocal detractors of pro-independence parties in Sánchez’s cabinet.

Snap election?

The Spanish government stressed its “total support” for Borrell. Cabinet sources told ACN that they have “nothing to comment, since the minister already explained the situation” when the sanction was first announced.

The case deals another blow to Sánchez, who came to power last June after ousting the scandal-ridden government of Mariano Rajoy.

With a minority of MPs in congress, and with the general budget bill set to be rejected, Sánchez’s government faces growing calls for a snap election.