The Minister of Transport, Óscar Puente, has decided to dismiss the Secretary General of State Ports, Álvaro Sánchez Manzanares, responsible for processing the largest contract in the scandal surrounding Koldo García, the former advisor of José Luis Ábalos, for the purchase of masks. for an amount of 20 million euros to Management and Business Support Solutions, the main company in the plot.

Sources from the Ministry of Transport confirm the dismissal of Sánchez Manzanares, advanced by El País, and which will take effect this Wednesday. These sources do not assess the reasons for this decision. Behind it would be the loss of confidence towards the senior official, who is not accused in this case being investigated by the National Court, after the different information published in recent days. At the moment, the aforementioned sources do not indicate who will replace Sánchez Manzanares in his position.

His dismissal comes after last Saturday, Puente once again came out in defense of his department’s staff by insisting that, “beyond” Koldo García’s brother, an employee at the public company Emfesa, “there is no one in the Ministry.” who is involved” in this case of corruption from a criminal point of view.

Puente, who a week ago announced a “very extensive” “specific” audit on the purchase of FFP2 masks ordered by his department during the worst of the pandemic, asked last weekend to “try to separate” those involved in the allegedly illicit acts. and who “are mere witnesses”, while guaranteeing that “if there were any reason in the future” to dismiss a position, “we would do it.”

Finally, it has decided to dismiss Sánchez Manzanares, who was one of those responsible for Puertos del Estado (entity on whose governing board Ábalos placed Koldo García) who participated in the award of that contract, the first that Management Solutions was awarded in the worst days of the pandemic, and which was the one that opened the door to the rest of the awards, for which the company went from not billing a euro to receiving contracts from different administrations for an amount of 53.1 million with the sale of masks.

The Central Operational Unit of the Civil Guard was aware that the accused knew they were under investigation on November 28. That day, in the summary being investigated by the National Court, there is a contact between Koldo García and the businessman Juan Carlos Cueto (another of the main defendants, also implicated in the Defex scandal) in which both comment that there was “a police investigation” against they.

That day, the now dismissed Álvaro Sánchez Manzanares contacted García. In the conversation, Ábalos’ former advisor spoke jokingly about the possibility of making him president of Puertos del Estado and Sánchez Manzanares was content to remain general secretary.

Álvaro Sánchez Manzanares – “Alvarito”, as Koldo calls him – is one of the eight Ministry of Transportation officials whose corporate emails were ordered by the judge to be seized due to indications that they participated in the contracts with Management Solutions.

Graduated in Law, he worked as an associate professor on several campuses until 2010. He arrived at Puertos del Estado in 2009, when the socialist José Blanco was Minister of Development. He first held the position of director of Institutional Relations and Technological Innovation and in 2012, with the Rajoy Government, he became area head of the Legal Department. Previously, he had been a socialist councilor in the Madrid municipality of Las Rozas in the first decade of the 2000s. He has also worked as a lawyer for the PSOE and was the legal representative of the management company that took control of the party after the resignation of Pedro Sánchez on December 1. October 2016.


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