During 17 months of undercover investigation, in which neither the judge nor the people’s accusations could participate, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office tried to distinguish between the mask case, without taking into account the Madrid city council. With the submission of his complaint on April 1 and its acceptance for consideration, the pre-trial process ended and the real case began, but the intensive instructions of Judge Adolfo Carretero over these six weeks did not move Anti-Corruption one iota from his conclusions. in March 2021, after hearing the opinion of the senior official in charge of purchasing the sanitary material: there is no evidence of a crime on the part of the city council for purchasing the material, as shared by the judge, but also in the privileges that the commissioners had access to the Consistory.
The advisability of clarifying the alleged “favorable treatment” that Luis Medina and Alberto Luceño could have received from the Madrid City Council, as demanded by left-wing groups that emerged as a popular accusation, was the subject of numerous questions from Judge Carretero. witnesses in the event of a crime such as trading in influence.
On the other hand, the prosecutor in the case opposed a statement by former university president Luis Medina and the mayor’s cousin, two testimonies that could shed light on how the commissioners gained access to the city council. . And when the judge accepted the request of the people’s accusations and summoned them, the prosecutor did not ask them anything, except for a little explanation from Maria Diaz de la Cebos, which had nothing to do with the mayor’s cousin or his mediation.
There is a moment of interrogation last Monday of Diaz de la Cebos, a friend of Luis Medina, who determines the position of the prosecutor’s office. Mas Madrid’s lawyer Nuria Zapico demands that the witness be asked for the mobile phone number she used to contact Medina’s broker and Almeida’s cousin. The lawyer understands that the witness cannot be interrogated, but considers her request to find her number in the list of persons under investigation justified. The prosecutor legally denies such a possibility, but does not resist finishing off: “This statement [de Díaz de la Cebosa] It does not matter. The way in which defendants gain access to the Madrid City Council is not the subject of this case.”
And why does the prosecutor need a “real case”? Well, the investigation of alleged crimes, which he himself reflected in his complaint after 17 months of a disparate investigation into interference: fraud, lying, money laundering, and more recently hiding assets. In this complaint, the prosecutor spoke about how the commission agents arrived at the city council, having committed, as it seems, an already proven mistake. He said Medina used his fame and “friendship with a relative of the mayor,” whom he did not even name, to gain access to the mayor’s purchasing manager. The relationship of friendship did not exist, everyone denied it, and they only met when Maria Diaz de la Cebosa introduced them. There seems to be no doubt that Medina’s social position helped him gain access where most could not.
Sepblac’s secret report
But this was not always the case, even for the Anti-Corruption Service. Another point of legal controversy in the case of masks is that related to the report of the Office for the Prevention of Money Laundering, on the basis of which the case was initiated. In July 2020, Sepblac, pre-warned by the banks, which included the commissions of Medina and Lucegno, sent a report to the specialized prosecutor’s office outlining the facts, its preliminary investigation and warning of possible crimes of money laundering and embezzlement. The latter is associated only with power or public office, so part of the suspicion pointed to the city council of Madrid.
The fight against corruption began from that moment and during the first five months of the secret investigation supported these two possible crimes in their documents. Until he quoted Elena Collado. After listening to the person in charge of purchasing sanitary supplies by the city council, a high-ranking official with historical ties to the PP, she changed her mind and began accusing Medina and Lucegno of fraud, forgery and money laundering. According to the prosecutor’s office, the city council was deceived. Judge Carretero, in a ruling passed last Friday, implicitly supports this thesis by refusing to refer to Collado as a defendant.
Judge Carretero demanded, at the request of the popular prosecution, that the Sepblac report be sent to him. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office replied that the law forbids this because it is secret. Sepblac’s director was more ambiguous and told the judge that he must “clearly refer to a legal provision that allows information to be requested.” The judge at one of the interrogations of witnesses lamented: “Seblak, you know that you can’t ask him for anything …”, he told the witness.
The Money Laundering Prevention Act states that Sepblac reports will not be “directly” included in court cases. Other reports of corruption include reports from Sepblac that were made available to parties defending the identity of informers and officials, as in the case of Gürtel.
Controversy over extension of clandestine proceedings
The fact that the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor dragged out secret investigative actions in this and other cases, for example, against Juan Carlos I, causes great omissions in the legal field. The Supreme Court judge cautions that this preliminary inquiry should be limited to the “minimum practice of prudence” that results in a complaint being filed or there being no sufficient evidence to do so.
Interviewed sources recall that this preliminary investigation does not allow for precautionary measures against those under investigation and excludes such actions as taking the phone from the suspect, which limits the possibility of progress in finding out the facts. On the other hand, if a complaint is filed and the judge recognizes it, he can order all sorts of actions, such as arrests, searches… this has been changed,” notes an instructor from the National Court.
The command of the State Security Forces, which has a great responsibility in the fight against corruption, goes further: “With this method, applied by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, there will be no more Gürtel, Punica or Lezo. Those under investigation are called in and warned that they are under investigation, and if a complaint is received later, they have managed to erase all the evidence.”
Prosecutor Rodriguez Sol himself says in a statement by Maria Diaz de la Cebosa that apart from the lack of a place to ask for her phone number so that you can check calls made by detainees, phone companies are not required to store traffic for more than a year, so now it would be useless . It was a diligence that the prosecutor did not practice while he was secretly investigating for 17 months, when there was still time to collect this information from the companies.
The actions of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office regarding masks are protected by the law governing the Organic Statute of the Prosecutor’s Office. It states that the investigative proceedings will be extended for a period of six to twelve months for specialized prosecutors such as anti-corruption or anti-drugs, but this period can be extended by decree of the prosecutor general.
In the case of masks, it was 17 months for a crime that is considered one of the most easily investigated crimes, such as fraud, the main prosecution in this case. The official reason: letters of request sent abroad, in this case to Malaysia, and the slowness of third countries to respond. After 17 months of investigation, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office filed a complaint the day after elDiario.es reported on the ongoing investigations, which have been kept secret since November 2020.
Our readers were the first to know about this new corruption case, because it was the elDiario.es journalists who revealed this exclusive a week before it was picked up by all the other media. This is not the first time this has happened: it has already happened with the mask contract, for which Ayuso’s brother took a commission. Also at that time, elDiario.es was the first media outlet to report it.
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