The Community of Madrid bought masks at triple their original price from the company from which Isabel Díaz Ayuso's brother was paid. The decree of the Anticorruption Prosecutor that files the investigation about this operation and the role of Tomás Díaz Ayuso reveals that the Priviet Sportive company, owned by a childhood friend of the regional president, paid just over half a million euros to buy and bring the masks to Madrid. However, the same documentation shows that the sale to the Madrid administration was made for a million and a half euros, triple what the material had cost. The Prosecutor's Office has chosen because it has not seen any indication of crime in the price of the masks, or in the processing of the contract, or in the actions of the regional president or her brother, who charged more than 234,000 euros for helping raise three offers and succeed in one of them.
The Community of Madrid handpicked 1.5 million euros in masks to a businessman friend of Ayuso
The prosecution explains that Priviet Sportive relied on the services of Tomás Díaz Ayuso for his knowledge of the health market for more than two decades and that led them to the Korean company 'K Beauty & Media', a company with which Daniel Alcázar had already had dealings in the past. This company was the one that sent them the offers that came from China and after weighing several options they bought the masks from 'Zhangjiagang Xiecheng Mechanical Equipment'.
The documentation of the case reveals that a first invoice of 332,906.53 euros was prepared for FFP2 masks and a second of 124,382.66 for the same material. A third invoice of almost 22,000 euros, according to the Prosecutor's Office, has to do with masks that "do not correspond to those contracted by the Community of Madrid." All this material, including the masks that were not destined for the Madrid regional administration, were paid in two transfers on April 2, 2020. In addition, the company of the Ayuso brothers' friend paid an additional 76,871.13 euros to bring all that material to Madrid and 6,501.24 euros to a second company to take them to Hall 10 of IFEMA, which, at the time, served as a warehouse for medical supplies.
The result between what they paid for the masks and what the transport cost amounts to 540,661.356 euros. A month after the arrival of the masks in Madrid, Priviet Sportive received a transfer from the Community of Madrid in its bank account with the concept “supply mat. health 2020-a” and for the amount of 1,512,500 euros. That is, almost triple what it had cost to buy and transport the masks from China to the capital of Spain. For this specific delivery, Tomás Díaz Ayuso received more than 100,000 euros: a total of 59,203.52 euros as a bonus for the successful award and 58,300 euros more for submitting the offer. The remaining money for complete the 234,103.52 euros that he received comes from two other offers prepared and presented but without success.
The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office focuses a good part of its exculpatory analysis on rejecting any type of favor treatment to the Alcázar company, a childhood friend of the regional president, and any illegality in the processing of the project or the execution in the delivery of the masks . But it also excuses the prices and profit margins, alluding to the context of the international market for medical supplies: "It is difficult to disregard the circumstances that occurred in this and other acquisitions of protective material," explains the Prosecutor's Office, alluding to the confinement of the population and daily deaths.
For the Prosecutor's Office, there was a "pressing and almost dramatic need to acquire masks" and the material supply channels were "collapsed", which caused "a significant disturbance in the supply chain". All this, according to the Prosecutor's Office, translated into "notable uncertainty in relation to the negotiation of contracts and the fixing of prices, the qualities of the products, the delivery times or, even, about the certainty itself about the good end of the commercial operations carried out”. The Prosecutor's Office says all this at the beginning of its brief to avoid incurring an "undesirable retrospective bias that would distort the conclusions of this investigation" although it recalls that none of this protects a possible crime.
The disbursement of more than half a million euros to buy the masks before the payment of the Community was made, according to the Prosecutor's Office, by a textile company such as Priviet Sportive mired "in a complicated economic situation, with difficulties in continuing its business" .
The fourth most expensive contract
The documentation from the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office reveals that the purchase of masks from Priviet Sportive, with which he collaborated and from which Tomás Díaz Ayuso charged, was one of the worst deals that the Community of Madrid did on those dates. A report from the General State Intervention (IGAE) has analyzed and compared the data from the Public Sector Contracting Platform in the case of the Madrid Health Service and its purchases of FFP2 masks between March and April 2020 for an amount greater than 100,000 euros.
In total, they have examined 37 contracts and the one signed with the company of his childhood friend is the fourth most expensive in terms of the price of each mask. According to this information, the average in these contracts was 4 euros for each mask, while the purchase made through Priviet Sportive went up to 6 euros for each FFP2 mask. The Prosecutor's Office explains that it was fourth in the price ranking and only identifies one higher price: €6.50/mask in the purchase made with Palex Medical.
The Prosecutor's Office itself excuses these discrepancies and rules out that, as it does defend in the case of Medina and Luceño, there was a scam in the disproportionate price of the product. “This gives the impression that the Madrid Health Service tried to acquire the greatest number of masks possible within margins that included a wide range of prices,” he explains after analyzing the purchases and seeing that on the same day the SERMAS bought masks from very different prices.
Where the prosecutor and the judge in the mask case understand that the overpricing of Alberto Luceño and Luis Medina's masks, gloves and tests may constitute a crime of fraud, the Chief Anti-Corruption Prosecutor highlights the context of the chaotic international market at that time to buy sanitary material. “It is important to remember that on those dates there was no market that could offer information on the price of masks due to the situation caused by COVID,” says Anticorruption. And SERMAS, like so many other public institutions, blindly launched itself into the market: “It urgently sought essential protective equipment to combat the pandemic in a market that globally demanded it in quantities well above production capacity.”
This, says the Prosecutor's Office to rule out some kind of fraud, deception or rigging in the contract, led to these sometimes exorbitant prices. “It determined not only very high prices in relation to the pre-pandemic stage, but also closed and very disparate, since they depended on circumstances as variable as the manufacturing company, its location, transport costs and the commercial margin applied by each distributor. in whose calculation the risk assumed in relation to the uncertainty that weighed on the success of the operation was relevant”, explains Alejandro Luzón.