Spanish judge postpones hearing in probe of PM Sanchez's wife

MADRID (Reuters) -A Spanish judge postponed a hearing on Friday in a corruption investigation of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's wife after her defence team said she had not been properly notified of another complaint brought against her.

The high-profile probe into whether Begona Gomez used her position as the prime minister's wife to influence her business dealings led Sanchez in April to consider resigning amid an outcry from the opposition.

Gomez appeared for her hearing on Friday morning, but after testifying for less than 45 minutes, Judge Juan Carlos Peinado granted her attorney's petition for an adjournment until July 19, a court spokesperson said.

"She was willing to testify if the judge clarified the facts," Gomez's lawyer, Antonio Camacho, told reporters outside the courthouse.

The original complaint was filed by anti-corruption activist group 'Manos Limpias' (Clean Hands) using a legal instrument known as "the people's accusation", which lets private individuals bring criminal complaints against third parties.

Judges can choose whether or not to act, and not every accusation has led to a judicial investigation.

Far-right party Vox and Iustitia Europa, a group best known for its activism against the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, later joined the lawsuit brought by Manos Limpias.

Manos Limpias is led by Miguel Bernad - a lawyer who has been a candidate for a far-right party in European elections - and it accuses Gomez of using her influence to secure sponsors for a university master's degree course that she ran.

After the hearing, Camacho said he had been surprised when the judge said he had also accepted a suit brought against Gomez by an ultra-Catholic group, Hazte Oir ("Make Yourself Heard").

Gomez told the judge she did not know exactly what she was being accused of, Camacho added. Gomez left without addressing reporters.

She has not commented publicly on the case but Sanchez has repeatedly and vehemently denied the accusations against his wife, saying they were baseless and orchestrated by right-wing political opponents.

"She is perfectly fine as are people who are innocent, notwithstanding the fact that this is something unpleasant," added Camacho, a Socialist like Sanchez who served as Spain's interior minister for six months in 2011.

The court has said the ongoing investigation seeks to evaluate Gomez's conduct since Sanchez became prime minister in 2018. Contracts related to European Union funds will be probed separately by the European Prosecutor.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and David Latona;Editing by Aislinn Laing and Helen Popper)