The high price paid by the Madrid community for masks purchased in China by the brother of President Isabel Díaz Ayuso is of interest after the European Public Prosecutor’s Office last week announced its investigation into possible embezzlement. Each KN95 mask (the Chinese equivalent of the European FFP2) purchased by Tomas Diaz Ayuso costs €5, one of the highest prices paid by any public administration in Spain. The amount has led opposition groups in Madrid to suspect that public money was improperly used for the 250,000 masks in that contract, worth 1.5 million euros.
Upon learning of the investigation by the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, More Madrid gone on Friday For example a complaint of possible crimes in the management of public funds which included its analysis of other prices paid by the Community of Madrid in the dates close to 1 April, when the contract under investigation was awarded. According to their examination of Madrid’s selection of five contracts, KN95 and FFP2 masks cost between 1.63 euros per unit and 2.29 euros. In other words, the cost of a mask purchased by Tomás Díaz Ayuso is three times more than the cheapest mask the community bought.
Other independent analyzes conducted during the pandemic show five euros was too high: transparency organization Civio published in March last year A detailed analysis of thousands of contracts (from municipalities, communities and the state) and found that the FFP2 range went from €0.25 to €8 and that of the KN95 from €0.87 to €11.25.
auditor’s court Audit of contracts of city councils of major cities published last October and revealed that the highest price of FFP2/KN95 was paid by Madrid City Council on March 25, 2020: 6.24 euros per unit, in a contract that is being investigated by an anti-corruption prosecutor for alleged millionaire commissions. They must have taken two businessmen from Madrid. In the same month, Zaragoza City Council acquired FFP2 masks for 1.6 euros per unit. Only the city councils of Madrid and Seville received masks of this quality at prices in excess of 5 euros/unit.
Chaos in Chinese market
Last week, the State Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, split the investigation into the case after the European Prosecutor’s Office claimed its jurisdiction was because the community used European money to buy masks. The community body expressed its dissatisfaction with the solution, which it considers “a challenge to the supremacy” of EU law. The matter came to light in February when PP’s previous national leadership accused President Ayuso of having provided his brother with a contract of 250,000 FFP2 masks for 1.5 million euros to the company of Privit Sportive SL, a friend of the two. The Madrid leader’s brother arranged to receive the goods and transfer it to Spain, as revealed by him, who assures that for this reason he only invoiced 55,000 euros plus VAT. Tomas Díaz Ayuso received at least 283,000 euros from that company in 2020, but it is not yet clear for what reason.
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In an apparent exercise of transparency, the community has provided the contract file to the media, but those papers say nothing about Tomas Diaz Ayusso, whose role was hidden. An invoice paid to a Chinese supplier, Jiaxing Yinuo Busway Co., Ltd., a company in Zhejiang in eastern China, also does not appear in that file. The omission has prevented the media from knowing how much money Tomas Diaz Ayuso and his friend, Privit Sportive SL’s owner, Daniel Alcázar, made from the operation.
The Chinese market was in chaos in the spring of 2020 as international buyers bargained over prices and even pre-sold goods were offered higher prices at airports. Sources in the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office explain that no matter how high the profits obtained by intermediaries, it is impossible to charge them with any crime because emergency contracts, permitted by law in crisis situations, eliminate normal control over public contracts. Huh.
However, the opposition thinks it is possible to determine that public money was misused. A question raised by the crime of embezzlement is whether payment of a surcharge can be prosecuted or whether it should be limited to contracts made without consideration (public money for services never paid). The Popular Party itself has explained that this is the case. After the reform of the penal code in 2015, the scope of the application of the offense was expanded to include excessive payments, according to the PP parliamentary group in the Madrid Assembly, in its complaint to the prosecutor’s office of 12 epidemic contracts, which alleged usually benefit the close ones. to the Central Government. The prosecutor’s office has yet to announce whether it will accept to process the complaint the president announced last month.
As part of his defense, the president has used false price data, as exposed by press verification and Mess Madrid in his complaint to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. government of ayush Published a statement on 18 February In which he assured that the community had bought the mask in April 2020 at a price higher than the 5 euros paid in the Privit Sportiv SL contract. The following five examples were included: Biogen FFP3: 10.5 euros; Palex FFP2: 6.5 euros; Lost Symmetry FFP2: 6 Euros; Helianthus FFP2: 5.95 euros; and Barcelona FFP2: 5.3 Euro. According to these verifications, in the cases of Biogen, Barna, Lost Cemetery or Plex, Ayuso gave prices for FFP3 masks, which is misleading because they are of higher quality than the masks his brother bought.
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