The Madrid judge who was investigating the commission agents Alberto Luceño and Luis Medina proposes to try them for the alleged fraud against the Madrid City Council in the sale of medical supplies in the first weeks of the pandemic in 2020. The head of the Madrid Investigating Court 47 has issued an order to pass to the abbreviated procedure, which is prior to the opening of the oral trial, in which the crimes of fraud and falsification of a commercial document are attributed to both of them. Luceño is also charged with the crime of falsifying a public document and a tax crime.
The order affirms that both inflated the price of the contracts by 60% in the case of masks, by 81% in that of nitrile gloves and by 71% in that of tests due to the “high” fixed commissions. As a result of these bites, Luceño received 5.1 million dollars and Medina one million. The magistrate, however, frees the Madrid City Council from all responsibility despite the fact that he acknowledges the “laxity in contracting controls.” The commission agents will not be prosecuted for the crime of money laundering either, since during the investigation it has not been possible to prove that they tried to hide or make these funds disappear.
Judge Adolfo Carretero explains that, “at the worst moment of the pandemic”, when there were “thousands of deaths” due to the coronavirus in Spain, Luceño and Medina “hatched up a plan” to “obtain (…) the greatest benefit economically possible” at the expense of the City Council. A plan that consisted of intermediation for the purchase of large quantities of sanitary material —masks, gloves and tests— from a Malaysian company.
According to the magistrate’s account, the commission agents would have charged “very high commissions” that were part of the price and that they would have hidden from the City Council “without the municipal managers noticing.” Something that happened, according to the judge, due to the “laxity in contracting controls” and the “urgency” and “instability” of the prices of medical supplies that existed throughout the world as a result of the pandemic.
The order also recognizes that both acted “with an advantage” over other possible bidders of material. Thus, it details that Medina used his status as a “public and famous figure” to get the phone number of Carlos Martínez Almeida, the first cousin of Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida. It was this person who obtained, through the City Council coordinator, Matilde García Duarte, the e-mail address of the City Council’s budget coordinator, Elena Collado.
Collado was the senior position that closed all the details of the purchase of masks, gloves and tests with Luceño and Medina. From a first email exchanged with the aristocrat at the end of March 2020, the person in charge of emergency purchases exchanged hundreds of WhatsApp messages with Luceño to organize the arrival of all the material, once the contracts with the municipal funeral home were signed, the company that by agreement was in charge of the purchase of this material for the staff of the City Council.