Álvaro Zulueta is a business manager currently serving as the CEO of the ultra-Catholic petition and mobilization platform CitizenGo, operating worldwide.
Zulueta, born in Madrid, holds an MBA from IE Business School.1 In 2012, Zulueta left his job as project and risk manager at IBM, and subsequently signed with CitizenGo as a CEO, for which he would lead the international expansion campaign of the platform, making it available in eight languages (Spanish, English, Russian, Portuguese, French, German, Polish and Italian) at first. Furthermore his job foresaw to strengthen international alliances with like-minded civil associations and institutions.1 By now the platform is operating in 50 countries, and available in 12 languages. According to an undercover investigation by openDemocracy, there are strong hints that CitizenGo has i.a. been used to circumvent the donation limits of the Spanish far-right Vox party. CitizenGo's founder and president Ignacio Arsuaga made allusions in that regard.2
Zulueta is also treasurer of the Spanish-only predecessor of CitizenGo, Hazte Oír, founded in 2001, and one of the key members of the ultra-catholic Mexican secret society El Yunque in Spain, according to Mexican National Journalism Prize winner Álvaro Delgado, author of the book El Yunque: la ultraderecha en el poder. Delgado points to Zulueta as the key interface between El Yunque, Hazte Oír and the Crusaders of Christ the King (Cruzados de Cristo Rey),3 "a fundamentalist priestly fraternity created, among others, by the founder of the secret sect in Mexico, Ramón Plata Moreno, which serves as spiritual support for its members."4
Álvaro Zulueta is married to Olga Cuquerella Gamboa, one of the phantom employees that Juan Carlos I of Spain's son-in-law Iñaki Urdangarín Liebaert hired to pay less taxes, who has family ties to the secret society El Yunque herself, "according to what sources close to the Casa del Rey and various lay Christian associations confronted with the sect have revealed to El Confidencial."4
Iñaki Urdangarin Liebaert (*1968) is a retired Spanish handball player turned entrepreneur and brother-in-law of King Felipe VI. Urdangarin was convicted of embezzling about 6 million euros in public funds for sporting events since 2004 through his nonprofit foundation, the so-called Nóos case, and of political corruption by using his former courtesy title of Duke of Palma de Mallorca as the husband of the Infanta Cristina, daughter of King Juan Carlos. In January 2016, the trial against Urdangarín and seventeen other defendants, including his wife Cristina, began in Palma,5 and in mid-February 2017 he was sentenced in the first instance to six years and three months imprisonment and a fine of around half a million euros.6 Both sides appealed, but in June 2018, Urdangarín's sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in Madrid.7 He is currently imprisoned in Ávila.
Olga's sister Julia Cuquerella Gamboa was a personal assistant to Iñaki Urdangarín, as well as occasionally to Infanta Cristina of Spain. According to Olga, Julia is an Opus Dei member.4 Olga's and Julia's brother, Marcial Cuquerella Gamboa, is director general of Intereconomía TV and presumed member of El Yunque as well, "according to the testimonies collected by El Confidencial."4
"The ties of the Cuquerella Gamboas with the royal family go back several decades, and are not limited to the working relationship of Julia and Olga with Aizoon, Urdangarín's company and Infanta Cristina. Their grandfather, Navy Admiral Marboa Gamboa Sánchez-Barcaiztegui, who died in 1986, maintained a very close relationship with Juan Carlos I of Spain and was appointed by him as a royal senator in the early years of the Transition period [from 1977 onwards].4
- 1. a. b. " Álvaro Zulueta, nuevo director ejecutivo de Citizen-Go," europa press, July 4, 2013, https://www.europapress.es/comunicados/noticia-comunicado-alvaro-zulueta-nuevo-director-ejecutivo-citizen-go-20130704135715.html.
- 2. Adam Ramsay & Claire Provost, "Revealed: the Trump-linked ‘Super PAC’ working behind the scenes to drive Europe’s voters to the far right," OpenDemocracy, April 25, 2019, https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/revealed-the-trump-linked-super-pac-working-behind-the-scenes-to-drive-europes-voters-to-the-far-right/.
- 3. Cruzados de Cristo Rey, http://www.ccr.org.mx/.
- 4. a. b. c. d. e. José L. Lobo, "La asistente personal y una empleada de Urdangarín están vinculadas a El Yunque," El Confidential, February 13, 2012, https://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/2012-02-13/la-asistente-personal-y-una-empleada-de-urdangarin-estan-vinculadas-a-el-yunque_237725/.
- 5. Martin Dahms, "Cristina von Spanien: Die Monarchie vor Gericht," Luxemburger Wort, January 11, 2016, https://www.wort.lu/de/panorama/cristina-von-spanien-die-monarchie-vor-gericht-5693bb070da165c55dc5101a?utm_source=de_daily&utm_medium=email-1600&utm_content=newsLink&utm_campaign=dailyNewsletter.
- 6. Hans-Christian Rößler, "Sechs Jahre Haft für Mann von Infantin Cristina," Frankfurter Allgemeine, February 17, 2017, https://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/kriminalitaet/spanien-mann-von-infantin-cristina-zu-6-jahre-haft-verurteilt-14882713.html.
- 7. "Prozess um Steuerbetrug Haftstrafe für Schwager des Königs bestätigt," Spiegel Online, June 12, 2018, https://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/inaki-urdangarin-gericht-in-madrid-bestaetigt-haftstrafe-gegen-koenigsschwager-a-1212508.html.