Case of masks: cross complaints and 4 million lost
The case of the masks paid in advance by the Canary Islands Health Service and that were never delivered includes cross accusations between the administration, the contracted company, its supplier, a multinational and the role as intermediary of someone who has already starred in a resounding fiasco
1. What do the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office and the Economic and Fiscal Crimes Unit of the Judicial Police investigate?
On April 18, he opened proceedings after a joint complaint about numerous contracts filed by Juan Manuel Pérez León. In this specific case, the investigations focus on determining whether the company RR7 United SL -based in the capital of Gran Canaria and initially dedicated to the sale of vehicles-
scammed the Canary Health Service (SCS) and if this public entity was able to commit prevarication and embezzlement of public funds in the contract for the purchase, prior
advance payment of 4 million euros, of a million 3M FFP3 model 1860 masks in full state of alarm. The masks that arrived were destroyed after the purchasing company was warned that they were false and the attempts to send them again were unsuccessful. The SCS has initiated the procedure to recover, via the Tax Agency, the money.
2. What does RR7 Services report?
In a complaint filed with the National Police, the company points to the supplier of the masks, Ihsan Mahmhoud Mohamed Al Sabbagh, as the alleged perpetrator of a scam, because he would have sent masks whose use was not authorized in the European Union, in addition to having fake codes. He defends himself by arguing that he was commissioned for some 3M 1860 masks and that
the SCS took them for granted, although they were not approved.
3. How was the money moved?
In its complaint, RR7 United SL details that on October 22, 2020 it made a first payment of 1,590,000 euros to Ihsan Mahmhoud Mohamed Al Sabbagh and on November 12 a second payment to the same person for an amount of 1,060,000 euros. According to the documentation to which this newspaper has had access, there was also a transfer of RR7 to José Lucas Cruz on January 13, 2021 as a "3M commission advance" for an initial amount of 25,000 euros.
4. What role does José Lucas Cruz play and who is he?
According to RR7's complaint to the National Police, José Lucas Cruz was the one who facilitated the contact between this company and Ihsan Mahmhoud Mohamed Al Sabbagh. The name of José Lucas Cruz came to the fore in 2019 when the CB Gran Canaria de basketball announced a principle of agreement with an investment fund supposedly represented by him to take control of the entity, thus freeing the Cabildo from that burden. The operation was frustrated and in this context, in addition, José Lucas Cruz was arrested and released for an alleged scam to the Diputación de Ourense.
5. When did the masks arrive in the Canary Islands?
In March 2021 the masks are at the Gran Canaria airport, but
delivery does not materialize. They are retained by Customs and RR7 ends up assuming the cost of their storage and subsequent destruction. Why? 3M's lawyer in Spain, Transi Cruz, warned RR7 that
the masks were fake, while the supplier maintained the opposite, but that the problem was that they ordered products that were not approved in Europe. 3M even sent a request warning that a crime against public health could be committed if the masks ended up on the market.
6. What does the SCS do after that first failure?
The Canarian Health Service does not go to court after this breach, but rather initiates a file to terminate the contract to recover the money. Subsequently, and after the false shipment arrived on the island, it paralyzed it and granted a second chance to the company and this, in turn, to the supplier to bring other masks, of another brand. It is one of the aspects, according to sources consulted by this newspaper, that the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office carefully analyzes, which has requested all the documentation from the Canary Islands Government Health Department and has begun the process of taking statements from people who participated in the contracting procedure with RR7. That second chance passed by
20% more masks at the same pricethe SCS told the supplier.
RR7 denounced that "since that moment" there are "direct contacts" between the Canarian Health Service and the provider Ihsan Mahmhoud Mohamed Al Sabbagh -confirmed by him-, but they do not come to fruition, so that
there are no masks and the 4 million euros are not returned. In its complaint, RR7 assures that the supplier does not refuse to obtain new masks, but demands more money -300,000 euros-, which the RR7 company understands is unfeasible. The Canarian Health Service ends up resorting to the Tax Agency to recover the money through the embargo procedure on a company with a share capital of 3,000 euros.