Anti-corruption investigation into the purchase of medical supplies by the Alameda City Council during the pandemic

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The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office investigates the award of two health goods contracts worth approximately 11 million euros in March 2020 by the Madrid City Council, as you proceed This Friday and EL has been able to confirm the PAÍS. Presumably, two Spanish businessmen collected millionaire commissions – six million – during the first wave, at the peak of the pandemic, when hundreds and hundreds of people died every day in Madrid in hospitals, homes and nursing homes in the capital. Tested purchases are a contract for one million FFP2 masks for 6.6 million euros and 250,000 antibody tests for 4.2 million euros.

The potential illegality of emergency contracts is the object of increasing attention two years later. This investigation by the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office, opened a year and a half ago but is now known, has been added to the recent opening of proceedings on the contract that benefited the brother of Madrid Community President Isabel Diaz Ayuso. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office has joined an investigation into that other case.

The two businessmen believed to have mediated for Madrid City Council are Luis Medina Abascal Easton, haute couture model Natty Abascal and the late Duke of Feria, Rafael Medina and Alberto Luceno Cerrone, who is also a businessman and friend of the latter. Investigators suspect that the two administrators had contacted a high-ranking city council official during the second half of March 2020. According to municipal sources, these businessmen claimed to have links with Asian companies that manufacture medical supplies: masks, PPEs, gloves… the purchase took place in a context where it is practically impossible to get such contracts all over the world. was impossible. Local and regional administrations went out of their way for these ingredients, a true Persian market.

The city council, through the Municipal Funeral Company, which is publicly owned, then entered into a contract with Leno, a Malaysia-based company, as stated in the contract to which EL PAÍS has agreed. The businessmen Medina and Luceno are the ones who acted as Leno’s middlemen for the city council. Anti-corruption, months later, traces the proceeds of six million to the accounts of these administrators. Five million went to Alberto Luceno and one to Luis Medina Abascal. How did these businessmen come in contact with the Almeida City Council? “We cannot talk about the ongoing investigation and personal data,” replied sources in the consistry. no answer.

How was the contract with the Malaysian company done? Since 2016 the publicly owned funeral company, by order of then-mayor Manuela Carmena, was the only company in the city council that could fulfill this type of contract. Signing up with Asian companies was not easy. Everyone always demanded economic progress. If Spanish municipalities wanted millions of masks, they always had to advance a large financial sum and, somehow, pray that these materials would arrive and not be economic poof.

The only company in the city council that could do this was Municipal Funeral Services. According to municipal sources, since the whole of Spain is confined, representatives of political groups on the board of directors of the funeral company form a WhatsApp group. In this group it is announced that they are going to do this type of contract with this Asian company. All parties are in favor of it. However, higher officials of the city council that validates the deal and that depends on the Treasury sector, omitted important information: that the consistry has reached this Asian company thanks to these two businessmen. This newspaper has contacted this worker, no response.

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Months later, notably in November 2020, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation. Call for the senior Treasury officer validating these contracts to testify as a witness. Why didn’t the Madrid City Council appear at that time? “If the prosecutor’s office concludes that a crime was committed that caused damage to the municipal treasury, we will study how to present the potential injured party as a charge,” the mayor’s environmental reply. sources said. According to data from the Court of Auditors, the consortium formalized 72 contracts through the municipal funeral home for a value of 42.1 million euros.

This Friday’s news has caught hold of the mayor of Madrid and several of his councilors in Seville at the National Congress of PP. Here, in response to questions from journalists, Almeida has said that “they are very calm” and that their administration has already provided all the necessary documents.

The deputy mayor of Ciudadanos, Begona Vilacis, has defended the government coalition during an act in the capital. “The government is not under question.” Yes to the opposition though. Madrid is considering requesting an extraordinary plenary session so the mayor can explain. “At the worst of the pandemic, some were trying to take advantage, others were trying to make a fortune, with misfortune,” said its spokeswoman Rita Mestre. “The commission agents took six million public money from taxes, which has gone into the pockets of a handful of traders. There is nothing more reprehensible than this.” PSOE, for its part, believes the mayor has “enough”. His spokesman, Mar Espinar, has requested a public appearance by Almeida. Next Monday, at ten o’clock in the morning, the funeral home has convened an extraordinary council.

Court of Auditors contract for masks and magnifying glasses

The highest price of all contracts examined by the Court of Auditors for FFP2 and KN95 masks was 6.24 euros/unit, agreed by the Madrid City Council on March 25, 2020, through the municipal services company Funeral. This is one of the contracts that is currently being examined. The Almeida executive paid an average of 4.76 euros for these masks. In the same month of March, Barcelona acquired them for 2.57 euros and Zaragoza for 1.60 euros, for example.

The highest price for the antibody test, which shows whether you are protected from the coronavirus or if you have been exposed to the virus, was 16.03 Euro/unit, which was also in line with the city council contract. Spain’s capital paid an average of 13 euros for each antibody test; Zaragoza, 8.65; Valencia, 7.36 and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 10.76. The average of the municipalities analyzed by the Court of Auditors is 9.14.

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