Masks: the court is inhibited when it had extended the investigation to 3 European countries

From left to right, Conrado Domínguez, Blas Trujillo, Iñaki Lavandera and María del Río, in July, in the Health Commission of Parliament, when examining the case. / EFE

The magistrate transferred the instruction to the European Prosecutor's Office, who claimed it for the alleged misappropriation of funds from the European Union

End to judicial limbo: magistrate Francisco Javier García García-Sotoca, who until now was investigating the so-called Masks case, transfers the proceedings to the European Prosecutor's Office. In an order notified to the parties this Monday, the head of the Investigating Court number 7 of the capital of Gran Canaria inhibits himself in favor of the community prosecutors, understanding that in the operation between the Canary Islands Health Service (SCS) and the company RR7 Services
European funds could be usedspecifically the European Regional Development Fund (Feder).

In the four-page order, the judge reiterates that the crimes under investigation are presumed
embezzlement, administrative prevarication, aggravated fraud and money laundering.

The General Intervention of the Autonomous Community sent a letter to the court in October in which it concluded that the damage is to the Autonomous Community since the operation with RR7 was not endorsed to the Feder funds, since the Canary Islands Health Service did not conclude that procedure.

Now, all the actions go from the court of the capital of Gran Canaria to the European Prosecutor's Office, a body created in 2021 and which in Spain has already claimed jurisdiction in other investigations into purchases of sanitary material. The actions of that European Public Prosecutor's Office
are 'guarded' by the National Courtsince the instructional capacity that prosecutors have in other EU countries is limited in the case of Spain, where that competence falls on the judges.

The defenses of the owner of RR7, Rayco Rubén González, and of the former director of the Canary Islands Health Service, Conrado Domínguez, had asked the judge to lift the secrecy of the proceedings. However, that secret remains.

careless payment

  • 4 million euros
    The Canary Health Service quickly paid RR7 under an express contract in whose negotiation Conrado Domínguez participated. The payments were made without checking the solvency of RR7, despite warnings to that effect in the SCS.

According to the newspaper 'Atlántico Hoy', Domínguez's defense will now request the annulment of the proceedings, understanding that the capital's court filed the complaint against the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor when it was not competent.

The inhibition in favor of the European Prosecutor's Office came when Osvaldo Lastras, a friend of Conrado Domínguez, had joined as the seventh investigated and when the judge had warned of the "radical turn" of the instruction after the statement of the owner of RR7.

foreign accounts

As this newspaper has been able to confirm, the judge had extended the investigation to three countries: Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom. The actions, which included a request for bank information on behalf of four investigated and a dozen companies, was to follow the money trail.

RR7 received four million euros from the Canary Islands Health Service for the purchase of one million 3M brand masks. The money was paid quickly, in separate transfers of two million euros, but the material was never delivered. A consignment of masks arrived, but they were retained by Customs after 3M warned of their falsehood and RR7 opted for their destruction.

According to the research,
the cost of buying the masks abroad was around 2.6 million euros, so that between commissions and business profit it would have been 1.4 million euros.

Specifically, the court was following the trail of two accounts in Italy, one at Banca Popolare Dell'Emilia Romagna and another at BiverBanca-Cassa Fortis, and another in Belgium, at BNP Paribas Fortis.

As for the United Kingdom, in October the court issued an order granting judicial assistance in criminal matters to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The masks would have been negotiated with people and companies domiciled in that country.

Also
is pending completion of another legal action regarding the assets in Spain and abroad of Rayco Rubén González and his three investigated relatives (his wife, his mother and a cousin).

RR7 owner's lawyer

In statements to CANARIAS7, Rachid Mohamed Hammu, a lawyer for Rayco Rubén González, pointed out that "unfortunately we cannot assess the legality or correctness of the 'avocation' of agreed competence, given that the secrecy of the proceedings has been extended to this incident , improperly, since we should have been heard when a constitutional principle was affected, such as the right to a judge predetermined by law. This is how we made it clear to the Court through a letter, to which we have not yet received a response. I trust that at least we will be notified of everything that has been done in this incident and, where appropriate, proceed accordingly."