Martínez-Almeida, against the ropes for the millionaire mask commissions

The spectacular collection of commissions by two businessmen for the purchase of medical supplies at the worst moment of the pandemic for the City of Madrid has provoked a new political earthquake for the mayor of the city José Luis Martínez-Almeida. The alderman finds himself on the ropes with a threat of a motion of censure, the success of which depends on citizens.

In the criminal order, a judge today admitted the complaint that the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office filed this Thursday against Luis Medina and Abascal, son of the late Duke of Feria, and Alberto Luceño for “inflating” the price of the purchase of medical supplies in March 2020 According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, both businessmen used “his friendship with a relative” by Almeida -his cousin, the lawyer Carlos Martínez Almeida- to profit from the signing of several contracts whose commissions amounted to six million euros (one went to Medina and five to Luceño). They are attributed the alleged commission of the crimes of aggravated fraud, false documentation and money laundering.

A scandal for which Ciudadanos, for the moment, does not break its coalition agreement with the popular ones in the Consistory, while it is being considered whether it will support a motion of censure if the other groups – the PSOE consider doing it – register it. The Deputy Mayor, Begona Villacisadmitted that he has two options: “I can add to the noise or I can be objective so that corruption continues to be fought in Spain.” But he also pointed out that in Ciudadanos “there are no easements“And they do not owe blind obedience to the popular. He demanded to open an external audit of all emergency contracts signed during the pandemic, the intervention of the Chamber of Accounts to guarantee the viability of the contracts and to reinforce controls.

dramatic situation

The mayor gave his explanations before Villacís and separately for deny any type of intermediation with the two commission agents and justified the lack of control of these contracts by “the dramatic situation” experienced in March 2020, when “I only guided them to get material as soon as possible”.

Almeida explained that his family member is contacted by a mutual acquaintance, who he does not identify, who tells him that louis medina is interested in supplying sanitary material to the City Council. He contacted the Consistory through two emails -one from March 18 and the other from March 19, 2020- and both emails were redirected to the person in charge of checking the viability of the offer. “That’s all my contact with this person,” added the popular alderman.

In addition, he highlighted the fact that the fiscal Ministery has ruled out a possible crime of influence peddling and defended the work of the city council technicians those days. Likewise, he announced that the City Council would appear in the case that investigates the purchase of one million masks, 2.5 million gloves and 250,000 rapid self-diagnosis tests, for which the two businessmen pocketed six million euros in commissions, a figure well above the market.

However, Almeida pointed out that “subsequently, logically, knowing what has happened, we would not make a contract for two people buy luxury cars or yachts”. He was referring to the fact that Medina and Luceño almost immediately invested their commissions in the acquisition of luxury items.

But his arguments did not prevent the opposition from launching an all-out offensive. The leader of the Madrid Socialists, -who will also appear in court- Juan Lobato already advanced the same Wednesday that if Villacís said yes to the motion, they would sit down to try to agree on a government program. “It is the only one that can give impetus to an alternative majority,” he pointed out.

A crisis that hangs over Almeida when he had not yet recovered from the turbulence of the alleged espionage with the connivance of the City Council to Isabel Díaz-Ayuso. The president of the Community of Madrid, by the way, avoided defending the mayor and limited herself to praising her work and that of her team.


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