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Corruption? Government Contracts to be Investigated After PP Signals Fiscal Irregularities

The chief prosecutor Alejandro Luzón has agreed to open proceedings to analyse seven emergency agreements signed by Pedro Sánchez’s government.

The chief prosecutor of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, Alejandro Luzón, has agreed to open investigative proceedings to analyse the thirteen emergency contracts of the government of Pedro Sánchez that are covered in the complaint filed by the Popular parliamentary group in the Assembly of Madrid.

In an eight-page decree, the chief prosecutor indicates that the reported facts “are of particular importance” and therefore initiates proceedings to clarify them, “opening proceedings for each of the allegedly favoured companies” among which are Beedigital and Industrias Plásticas Playbol.

In total, the prosecutor will investigate thirteen contracts, most of them for masks. The largest is 77 million euros, awarded to FCS. The common thread of the investigation is the awarding companies, regardless of the awarding body; and the irregularities are basically: the linking of each of the companies with the different public administrations and the lack of verification of the concurrence of the minimum requirements for the formalisation of the contracts. 

According to the PP, these conducts could constitute crimes of prevarication, prohibited negotiations with civil servants, influence peddling and embezzlement of public funds.

 

Ábalos and Illa Contracts

Several of the contracts to be investigated are those awarded to Soluciones de Gestión y Apoyo a Empresas for a value of almost 37 million euros by the Ministry of Transport. According to the decree, “according to journalistic information, the latter is related to the then Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos”. In addition, there are other circumstances. 

First, his social activity is not directly related to the object of the contract. Second, there was a lack of verification of the solvency of the successful bidder. And third, in 2019 its turnover was 0 euros, compared to 53.13 million euros in 2020 for direct public awards.

Another of the companies to be investigated will be FCS Select Products, which received nearly 263 million euros in contracts from the Ministry of Health. According to the decree of the whistleblowers’ data, “the media point to the friendly relationship of the company’s administrators with the then Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, as the cause of the awarding of the contracts”.

 

Several million-dollar contracts to a company convicted of swindling

In this respect, the decree states that the company’s business activity – manufacturing services for marketing products for the alcoholic beverages sector – is not directly related to the object of the contract.

In addition, the solvency of the successful bidder was not verified. In 2018 its turnover was less than €1 million. In 2020 it reached 263.1 million euros through direct public awards. On top of this, the company’s administrator was convicted in 2016 for fraud.

In addition, the chief prosecutor will investigate other contracts on those dates that were not linked by Covid. One of them, Páginas Amarillas Soluciones Digitales, now Bedigital, is related, according to the complainant, to the head of the Ministry of Economy, Nadia Calviño, “as her spouse held the position of marketing director of the company”.

Moreover, the contract was awarded at a time when the company had debts to the State amounting to 1.6 million euros. “When the contract was extended in 2020, the debt with the state amounted to 884,000 euros,” he adds.

And finally, the contracts with Industrias Plásticas Playbol will be analysed. According to the PP, “the aid received by this company is related to the company’s links with the parents of the president of the government, Pedro Sánchez”.

 

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