The Court of Instruction number 15 of Madrid has agreed to unlock the 34 million from the rescue to the airline Plus Ultra that I had cautiously frozen in the context of the case opened for alleged irregularities in the granting of that aid by the Board of Directors of SEPI that authorized the operation.
In a car notified this Monday and signed by Judge Jaime Serret, who replaces the investigator of the case, Esperanza Collazos, as guard; the court upheld the appeal filed by the airline on understanding that keeping the delivery of these funds suspended «may pose the risk of final insolvency of Plus Ultra, forcing it to stop operating and creating a loss to passengers who have paid in advance. ‘
The instructor paralyzed this phase of the rescue of 53 million euros to appreciate that the need for the help was not proven and that «An unjustified delivery
would mean a significant loss of assets without the possibility of restoration», In other words, there was a risk that Plus Ultra would never return that money to the public coffers and that justified the adoption of this emergency measure.
Thus, it adopted the precautionary measure, waiting to hear from the parties, to «Avoid the final consummation of a possible crime of embezzlement or fraud of subsidies», Which is what you are investigating. Against this, Plus Ultra had to justify the need to deliver the 34 million “as the only way to maintain the viability of the company.”
Now, the court reverses this decision after hearing the reasons put forward in the appeal of Plus Ultra, the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Attorney, who asked to release the funds; but not only. The
expert report provided by the airline to justify this need for aid in terms of viability. Meanwhile, the independent analysis that the judge had commissioned and that must decide whether there was any type of irregularity in the granting of the rescue itself, insofar as any of the requirements imposed by law may have been breached, has not yet reached the court.
In the car, Judge Serret exposes the pros and cons of maintaining the precautionary block to adopt the measure and chooses to unblock the money. He reasons that while freezing the 34 million may bankrupt the airline, release the funds «Would allow the viability of the company -in fact this is the reason why the investigated aid has been granted- and the consequent return of the loans to the administration “, in line with the statements of the Plus Ultra expert.
«It should be noted that in the agreement for the granting of the aid charged to the Fund for Support to the Solvency of Strategic Companies a pledge contract of 51% of the shares and a management agreement have been included as guarantees with the company; that is to say, measures of control and supervision of the administration on the destination of this public aid ”, reasons the order.
“There is still no damage to the Administration”
He adds that «no damage has yet been done to the Administration, since the 19 million euros delivered and the 34 million euros pending delivery are loans (ordinary and participatory) that are not past due and therefore are not unpaid; But what is being investigated is the hypothesis of having delivered these loans to a company in crisis without any possibility of repaying them.
In this sense, remember that against what both Plus Ultra and SEPI claim, there are indications of a crime that should be investigated. Obviously, if a criminal investigation is not carried out, there is never any indication of a crime. The instruction is in an embryonic state to determine whether or not the crime reported exists; since a series of facts that could have criminal relevance have been revealed and verification procedures are being agreed on these facts, ”he highlights.
Thus, while on the one hand it is analyzed “if there could have been a falsification or a fraudulent distortion” in the fulfillment of the requirements demanded by the Law for the Fund to grant this aid, which is pending of the aforementioned expert commissioned by the judge ; on the other hand, what is studied is possible unfair administration of public funds in the context of the crime of embezzlement.
Regarding bribery or influence peddling that some popular accusations also indicate, the order indicates that “there is not the slightest indication, these accusations being limited to transcribing articles of the Penal Code and its jurisprudence, without linking it with the denounced facts.” «For now, no bribery crime appears in view of the absolute lack of reference to the gift or consideration for the alleged fraudulent granting of financial aid to PLUS ULTRA, and the same occurs in relation to the crime of influence peddling, “he says.