The consumer associations do not leave their astonishment. The new president of the Council of Consumers and Users, a body under the Ministry of Health, has only lasted a few hours in the post. The ministry led by María Luisa Carcedo has informed at midday of the appointment of Carlos Lasarte, Professor of Civil Law at the UNED, as president of this body of representation and consultation. Just seven hours later he announced on his official Twitter account that he suspends his appointment after detecting "a conflict of interest".
What has happened between one communication and the other? That a law firm in the capital, Martínez-Echevarría, has announced its new star signing: Carlos Lasarte himself, as director of the department of consumer protection and users of the firm in Madrid. This appointment, picked up by the economic press, has left stupefied the consumer associations, which during the morning of Tuesday had voted to Lasarte as president of the CCU.
The Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare suspends with finality the process of appointment of the president of the Council of Consumers and Users, Carlos Lasarte, by failing to meet all the requirements after detecting a conflict of interest
– Min. Health (MSCBS) (@sanidadgob) February 5, 2019
The appointment of Lasarte is proposed by the Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare. The associations that are part of the CCU voted this Tuesday morning at an event held at the ministry's headquarters in Paseo del Prado and approved it. According to the regulations that regulate the CCU, the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users, the president is appointed by the members (the representatives of the associations) by a two-thirds majority. Of the nine associations present, only Facua abstained, so the appointment went ahead.
Hours later, one of them, Adicae, denounced the signing by the law firm: "It supposes an evident instrumentalization and manipulation of the CCU carried out with undoubted premeditation and must suppose the immediate resignation or cessation of Carlos Lasarte". He added in a statement that his appointment is "a shameful and shameful decision for the highest representative body of consumers." The spokesman for Facua, Rubén Sánchez, also denounced "the inadequacy of imposing on user associations the person who will be at the head of its advisory body."
Finally, the Ministry of Health, in a tweet published at 21.25 this Tuesday, announced that it "permanently suspends the appointment process" of Carlos Lasarte "by failing to meet all the requirements after detecting a conflict of interest." Sources of Health assure that Lasarte had not declared his connection with the office and that in the ministry that relationship was unknown until it has been made public hours after appointing him. The administrative process, therefore, is suspended, they added.
EL PAÍS has tried to contact Lasarte to obtain his version, without success. Lasarte has a degree in Law from the University of Seville and a PhD from the University of Bologna, as well as a professor at UNED since 1992, where he heads the Civil Law Department.
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