In March 2020, the city of Madrid paid more than 11 million euros to a Malaysian company to deliver medical supplies to the capital in the worst conditions of the first wave of the pandemic. More than half of that amount, according to prosecutors, was the commission of two Spanish businessmen, Luis Medina and Alberto Luceno. Now the court is investigating whether they cheated their council, forged documents to justify their millionaire income in the bank and finally, whether they laundered the loot by buying cars, watches and an expensive yacht. Also, if, in addition, the material they delivered to Madrid was defective: many antibody tests were not valid and the gloves coming from China were not the model required by the city council.
The most noisy episode is the Gloves episode. Madrid City Council has agreed with Malaysian company Leno to buy 2.5 million nitrile gloves for $ 5 million. According to the Anticorrupción, Lucienio has pledged to wear “high-quality” 40-centimeter gloves that reach almost to the elbow and allow the entire arm to be covered in personal protective equipment (PPE).
The problem is that the gloves that arrived in Madrid on April 8th he was not. The prosecutor’s office claims that they were “poor” and only reached the wrist and not the elbow, as the City Council needed. A senior City Hall official dealing with businessmen demanded a solution and also reported that the gloves sold to them were twenty times more expensive than in Spanish supermarkets.
Lucienio, always according to the prosecution report, tried to maneuver to prevent the end of the lucrative relationship he and his partner had with the Madrid City Council. He said they managed to lower the price by almost a third of the original and that the board would return its money. The first was not right and the second was right: the council recouped this investment, but Luceno resigned from the commission to make it possible. He was fined $ 25,000, which was also handed over to the Madrid City Council.
The Madrid City Council, through the Municipal Funeral Home, also purchased a rapid test of 250,000 antibodies for $ 4,250,000 from a Malaysian company delivered by Medina and Luceno to Cybele. In this case, according to the prosecution, money was collected and commissions were rolled in, but the material did not meet the minimum quality standard. They were “defective”, according to the anti-corruption complaint, were largely insensitive and needed new reagents.
Of the 250,000 tests purchased, only 75,000 had an “acceptable level of sensitivity,” at 94%, prosecutors said. The other 115,000 had a sensitivity level of 80%, while 60,000 parties had a “particularly low” sensitivity level of 66.7%, according to the complaint. During the first months of the pandemic and before the advent of antigen tests, the only alternative to PCR tests was antibody tests to determine if coronavir left a mark on the body.
The council contacted Luceno to demand the return of at least the sensitive batch, but the businessman said the Malaysian company did not want the refund, but was willing to send a “new batch of reagents” for testing. “Because he believed that the defect in low sensitivity could be remedied with these new reagents.” The prosecution clarified in its complaint that it did not have a record that these reagents were sent, although Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida explained at a press conference this week that they had been sent.
This agreement is one of the ones that has attracted the most attention from both the Court of Auditors and the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. In the case of the first body, he stressed that Madrid bought the tests for 16.03 euros per unit, which is much more expensive than in other major cities in the country on those dates. In the case of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, it is emphasized that among the agreed commissions, of which only Alberto Lucienio knew, businessmen looted 244% of the real price of the product.
The only shipments investigated that did not bring low quality material were masks, at least with anti-corrosion eyes. Consistory paid $ 6.6 million for a million KN95 graphene mask, which is not a claim, at least in a prosecutor’s appeal allowed by the 47th Court of the Plaza de Castilla in Madrid to be processed. Yes, we are talking about exorbitant prices and commissions: the booty of commission agents on the cost of the product came from 148% of the budget inflation. Madrid was one of the municipalities that paid the most for these masks in the first weeks of the pandemic.
It remains to be seen whether Judge Adolfo Carretero will put a magnifying glass not only on the commission and post-cash management, but also on the quality of the products imported from China to Madrid, and in two to two cases. , Was not at the height required by the capital’s administration.
This is what also happened in the case that the anti-corruption case is investigating in connection with the Madrid community and the brother of the president of the region, Thomas Dia Ayuso. The contract was signed for 1.5 million euros, theoretically, to bring FFP2 masks to Spain, but in the end, as elDiario.es explained, they were the cheapest KN95 model. One of the aims of the European Prosecutor’s Office when trying to control the case was to investigate not only the existence of illegal commissions, but also whether there was any kind of fraud in connection with the type of mask requested by the Community of Madrid. .
Source: El Diario