Anti-corruption tries to limit the mask case to crimes that do not affect the City Council

Anti-corruption tries to limit the mask case to crimes that do not affect the City Council

During 17 months of secret investigation, in which neither the judge nor popular accusations could participate, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office tried to limit the case masks leaving out the Madrid City Council. With the presentation of his complaint on April 1 and its admission for processing, the pre-judicial process ended and the real case began, but the intense instruction of Judge Adolfo Carretero in these six weeks has not moved Anticorruption one iota from the conclusions he drew. in March 2021, after listening to the senior official responsible for the purchase of the sanitary material: there is no evidence of a crime by the City Council for the purchase of the material, as the judge shares, but neither in the privileges that the commission agents enjoyed to access the Consistory.

The convenience of clarifying the alleged "favorable treatment" that Luis Medina and Alberto Luceño could receive from the Madrid City Council, as claimed by the groups on the left that have appeared as a popular accusation, has been the subject of numerous questions from the judge Carretero to the witnesses in case there could be a crime such as influence peddling.

On the other hand, the prosecutor in the case has opposed the declaration of the president of the former university of Luis Medina and the cousin of the mayor, the two testimonies that could shed light on the way in which the commission agents accessed the City Council. And when the judge has accepted the request of the popular accusations and has summoned them, the prosecutor has not asked them anything, except for a small clarification to María Díaz de la Cebosa that had nothing to do with the mayor's cousin or his mediation .

There is a moment of the interrogation last Monday of Díaz de la Cebosa, the friend of Luis Medina, which defines the position of the Prosecutor's Office. The lawyer for Más Madrid, Nuria Zapico, requires that the witness be asked for the mobile phone number that she used to contact the broker Medina and Almeida's cousin. The lawyer understands that a witness cannot be investigated, but she believes that her request is justified to look for her number in the list of those investigated. The prosecutor legally refutes such a possibility, but does not resist finishing: "This statement [de Díaz de la Cebosa] It is irrelevant. The way in which those under investigation access the Madrid City Council is not the subject of this case.”

And what is the purpose of the "present case" for the prosecutor? Well, the investigation of the alleged crimes that he himself reflected in his complaint after 17 months of isolated investigation of interference: fraud, falsehood, money laundering and, more recently, also, theft of assets. In that complaint the prosecutor It went over the way in which the commission agents arrived at the City Council, while committing what already seems to be a proven error. He said that Medina used his fame and her "friendly relationship with a relative of the mayor", whom he did not even identify, to access the town hall's purchasing manager. The friendship relationship did not exist, everyone has denied it, and they only met when María Díaz de la Cebosa put them in contact. There seems to be no doubt that Medina's social position helped him gain access where most could not.

But this was not always the object of the case, not even for Anticorruption. Another subject of legal controversy in the case of masks is what surrounds the report of the Money Laundering Prevention Service that gave rise to the case. In July 2020, Sepblac, previously alerted by the banks where the Medina and Luceño commissions entered, 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 only attributable to authority or public office, so part of the suspicions pointed to the Madrid City Council.

Anticorruption started from there and sustained these two possible crimes in its writings during the first five months of its secret investigation proceedings. Until he quoted Elena Collado. After listening to the person in charge of purchasing sanitary material by the City Council, a high-ranking official historically linked to the PP, she changed her opinion and began to accuse Medina and Luceño of fraud, forgery and money laundering. According to the Prosecutor's Office, the City Council had been deceived. Judge Carretero, in an order from this past Friday, comes to support this thesis circumstantially, by refusing to cite Collado as investigated.

Judge Carretero has demanded, at the request of the popular accusation, that the Sepblac report be sent to him. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has responded that the law prevents it because it is secret. The director of Sepblac has been more ambiguous and has told the judge that he must invoke "expressly the legal precept that enables the request for information." The judge, in one of the interrogations of the witnesses, lamented: "Seblac, you know that it is impossible to ask him for anything...", he told a witness.

The Money Laundering Prevention Law states that Sepblac reports will not be incorporated “directly” into court cases. Other corruption summaries include Sepblac reports that have been made available to the parties, safeguarding the identity of informants and officials, as in the Gürtel case.

The fact of prolonging secret investigative proceedings by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor in this, and other cases such as those affecting Juan Carlos I, raises much reticence in the legal field. A magistrate of the Supreme Court warns that this preliminary investigation should be limited "to the minimum practice of diligence" that leads to the presentation of a complaint or to rule out that there is sufficient evidence for it.

The sources consulted recall that in this preliminary investigation there is no room for the adoption of precautionary measures against those under investigation and actions such as requisitioning a telephone from a suspect are excluded, which limits the possibilities of advancing in clarifying the facts. On the other hand, if the complaint is filed and the judge admits it, he can order all kinds of actions, such as arrests, searches... “Sometimes these investigative procedures are used so that the prosecutor is the instructor without the law having been modified. for this”, points out an instructor from the National Court.

A command of the State Security Forces, who had high responsibilities in the fight against corruption, goes further: “With this method implemented by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office there will be no more Gürtel, nor Púnica, nor Lezo. Those investigated are summoned, who are warned that they are being investigated, and if a complaint later arrives, they have had time to erase all the evidence.”

The prosecutor Rodríguez Sol himself says during the statement to María Díaz de la Cebosa that in addition to not having a place to claim her telephone number so that the calls made by those under investigation can be checked, the telephone companies are not obliged to keep the call traffic more of a year so now it would be useless. This was a diligence that the prosecutor did not practice while he investigated 17 months in secret when there was still time to collect that information from the companies.

The action of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office in the case of masks is protected by the Law that regulates the Organic Statute of the Public Prosecutor's Office. This says that the investigative proceedings will be extended for a period of six months or twelve for specialized prosecutors such as Anti-Corruption or Anti-Drug, but that this will be extendable by decree of the State Attorney General.

In the case of the masks, it was 17 months for a crime that the crimes consider one of the easiest to investigate, such as fraud, the main one pursued in this case. The official reason: the letters rogatory sent abroad, in this case to Malaysia, and the slowness of third countries in responding. After 17 months of investigation, the Anticorruption Prosecutor filed the complaint the day after revealed that there were investigations which had been kept secret since November 2020.

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