Almeida and Carromero play cat and mouse in the commission investigating the alleged espionage of Ayuso

The Investigation Commission on the alleged espionage of Isabel Díaz Ayuso opened in the Madrid City Council enters its final stretch this week, with all the spotlights on next Monday, May 9. That day the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, and several of the positions of his team are called to appear. But Ángel Carromero's unexpected request to testify that same day in the afternoon, that is, after the mayor who is summoned in the morning, has caused great nervousness in the PP, which wants the finishing touch to the work of this body put it by the alderman and not the one who was his adviser.

The fear of what Carromero may say now, who continues to play cat and mouse with the mayor himself, worries the government team, since the reasons for his forced dismissal after the outbreak of the scandal have never been explained. Hence, last Friday the popular put all kinds of obstacles during the meeting of the Board of Spokespersons so that the former coordinator of the mayor's office attends that last session, which will end the work of the commission. From the PP they argued that "there is no precedent" for those appearing to be called again.

The spokespersons for Más Madrid, PSOE and the Mixed Group have been alerted to the possibility that those of Almeida will try to frustrate their appearance in the end, for which they would have to have the support of Ciudadanos, their government partner, something that neither It would be surprising given the changes in criteria that Begoña Villacís has shown these days. "The PP wants to avoid at all costs that Carromero has the slightest opportunity to pull the blanket," says Miguel Montejo, spokesman for Más Madrid.

From the PSOE, Mar Espinar hopes that both Carromero's statement and that of the mayor "shed light on this commission and that they really serve a purpose and clarify what happened, because until now nobody knew anything and nobody did anything." The socialist spokeswoman believes that the PP must show "more respect for the institutions." “Citizens deserve an explanation,” she says.

For his part, Luis Cueto, from the Mixed Group, believes that Carromero has "one last chance to claim his name." "If everything was a setup by Ayuso, we would like Carromero to request his resignation and request to be reappointed in his position", he said.

The former general coordinator of the mayor's office and Almeida's right arm until his resignation should have testified before the Investigation Commission on April 4, just a month ago. He made an excuse and asked that the date be changed, deliberately delaying his presence in Cibeles to testify before the spokesmen of the municipal groups, knowing that he is the key to knowing what happened in the Municipal Housing and Land Company (EMVS), from where it was allegedly ordered to spy on Ayuso and his brother Tomás.

The outbreak of this scandal meant that the PP opened up in an unprecedented crisis: it forced Almeida to resign as national spokesperson and ended with the forced march of Pablo Casado as president of the PP, and of several leaders of his leadership, to give way to a new stage directed by the Galician Alberto Núñez Feijóo. A crisis from which the regional president has emerged strengthened and whose climax will be her appointment as president of the PP of Madrid on May 21just as she wanted.

Once her purpose was achieved, Ayuso, despite being the first to give credibility to espionage and demanded that heads roll, has preferred to throw the dust on this matter. The regional president first threw the stone and then hid her hand. She refused to appear at the City Council commission claiming that she had "no first hand information". He also opposed his brother Tomás doing it, whom the municipal services have not been able to locate so that he can come to testify, although in the end he has had to do so before the Prosecutor's Office due to the contract that the company of a friend of his closed with the CAM for the sale of sanitary material from which he took a substantial commission.

Throughout these weeks, there have been up to seven sessions of the commission with more absences than presences. And of the EMVS and EMT charges that have agreed to testify, little has been achieved. All have denied that it is possible to have commissioned espionage with public money from these companies given the tight controls. But equally, both have agreed to point out that they are not aware that the mayor ordered an internal investigation to determine whether or not there was such an espionage attempt.

However, there are some details that have caused quite a bit of perplexity among the commission's spokesmen. Like the irregularities that already existed from the outset with Carromero's resignation, which was presented to the media on February 17 as a motu proprio decision to "be able to defend himself." However, as it turned out later, it was Vicente Javier Segura Fayos, a trusted position in the Mayor's Office, who a day later wrote the resignation letter and scanned Carromero's signature, which had not officially formalized his resignation. It was considered a "deferred resignation". For the opposition, this drill was done to prevent him from having to face the extraordinary Security and Emergencies Commission as the groups had demanded.

"Carromero said that he was resigning to defend himself, but it is evident that the one who has to defend himself is Almeida himself," says Miguel Montejo, who insists on the numerous gaps that are open in the case. One of them is knowing who it was who really met at the Wellington hotel in Madrid with the owner of the Mira detective agency, Julio Gutiez, who did not want to go to Cibeles either.

The mess about this episode came to light last week, during the statement before the commission by Francisco Javier Muñoz, adviser to the councilor of Usera Loreto Sordo. According to the story published by the ABC newspaper, At the end of November 2021, a person linked to the City Council and allegedly sent by Ángel Carromero, who identified himself by that name, was the one who met with the detective to entrust Ayuso and his entourage with that espionage. But Muñoz categorically ruled out being that person, since he did not match the description given by the newspaper – "a tall, dark-haired young man of about 30 years" – nor has he ever spoken to Gutiez, which leads the Más Madrid group to deduce that "They impersonated his identity to point the finger at him."

According to Miguel Montejo, the problem that Almeida now has is that "they have left Carromero by the wayside and that is a fringe that they have to solve", while Luis Cueto insists that "Almeida has navigated in turbulent waters. We hope Carromero will clarify what the mayor continues to leave in a darkness harmful to democracy".

The mayor's situation has been complicated by crossing the other scandal of the purchase of defective masks and medical supplies by way of urgency in the midst of a pandemic, contracts awarded quickly and running to Luis Medina and his partner Alberto Luceño through the funeral company. An operation that has turned out to be a complete scam in which a first cousin of Martínez-Almeida has also been involved. The case, in which the opposition groups have managed to appear, is still in the hands of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, which has filed a complaint against both businessmen.

The matter has become much more confused after it emerged that none of the emergency contracts closed at that time by Funeral Home have been registered, and therefore could not be supervised by the Special Commission for Surveillance of Contracting, whose Board of Spokesmen is met at the request of Vox last week. There, all the groups joined together in front of the PP and Ciudadanos, who expressed "legal doubts", so that all the corresponding information related to the files related to the contracts, including the invoice, could be accessed.

According to the agreement finally reached at said meeting, to which this newsroom has had access, Más Madrid, PSOE, Grupo Mixto and Vox ask to "examine, not only the emergency contracting files until the award, but the entire file, including the orders to carry out acquisitions, material delivery notes, formalized contracts and payments made to suppliers, supervision reports and comparative quality of contracting". In addition, they request "the appearance, in Commission or by means of a report request, of the Madrid City Council bodies directly linked to these purchases but that have not acted as a contracting body, as is the case of the public positions of the Madrid City Council Madrid signatories of the contracts, the signatories of the commissions carried out to carry out the acquisitions and all that official or municipal authority that has been able to participate in the preparation or prior management of the contracts.

Thus, and in this rarefied environment, next Wednesday the investigation commission on espionage against Ayuso will again hold its, theoretically, penultimate session, the eighth, in which Daniel Hidalgo Paniagua, general director of Communication at the City of Madrid; Ignacio González, former president of the Community of Madrid; Inmaculada Sanz, spokesperson for the Governing Board and delegate for the Security and Emergencies Area; and Andrea Levy, City Council Culture delegate and former president of the party's Guarantees Commission.

After this there are only two more sessions left, that of Friday, May 6, which will be when Begoña Villacís appears, among other charges; and the one on the 9th, which will star Almeida and Carromero hand in hand and in which the statements of the two main persons responsible for the mask contracts, Engracia Hidalgo and Elena Collado, who will also testify before the judge that day, are also scheduled. That is, if the script is not twisted.

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