"As regards invoicing, payment and collection of commission, the procedure followed must be described as transparent." After exactly four months of investigation, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor has decided to shelve the cause that he kept open about the commissions that Tomás Díaz Ayuso, brother of the president of the Community of Madrid, was carried by the award of one and a half million euros in exchange for 250,000 masks to the company of a friend of both.
According to the Prosecutor's Office, the entire process was legal and transparent, the president's brother did not seek any favorable treatment for the company, there were no irregularities in the hiring and his commissions are perfectly legal. The case is now in the hands of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, which has to decide whether the fact that a company where the president's brother was a commission agent has sold masks to the Community of Madrid for 1.5 million euros, which originally cost 500,000, and the quality of this sanitary material are sufficient indications to continue with the investigation for alleged fraud against the community funds with which the regional government paid for that order.
The matter, which is still under investigation, casts some doubts: the first, if the Ayuso government knew that it was paying triple what the masks were worth to a friend of the president who had his brother as a commission agent. As Anticorruption reveals in its file decree, the Priviet Sportive company of the businessman until then dedicated to the textile sector Daniel Alcázar paid just over 540,000 euros to buy the masks and transport them from China to the IFEMA fairgrounds in Madrid. The regional Executive, according to the contracts provided to the public prosecutor's office, paid an invoice of more than a million and a half euros in which was one of the most profitable purchases of masks from those first weeks of the pandemic. In those days, the Community of Madrid signed thirty orders for masks at a better price.
The regional government only accepted one of the six offers that Tomás Díaz Ayuso helped make to the company of Daniel Alcázar, a friend of the family forever. The Community refused, for example, to buy hundreds of thousands of gowns from the same company because they considered the price "excessive" and refused to "advance the payment of part of the price, as requested by Priviet," specifies the Prosecutor's Office. In other words, there were filters on the label of the products, but the masks at triple the market price passed the cut.
In the case of masks from the Madrid City Council, the same Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has highlighted at all times that Luis Medina and Alberto Luceño negotiated their millionaire commissions behind the council's back, also inflating prices to optimize the loot. That, according to the investigators of the municipal mask case, is part of the deception and the alleged scam. In the case of the Community of Madrid, the Prosecutor's Office does not specify whether the regional Administration knew that there was a commission agent and, specifically, that this was the brother of President Isabel Díaz Ayuso.
In this case, the Prosecutor's Office has considered that a profit of 300% for the supplier company does not constitute a possible deception and explains it by referring to the situation of the international market and the difficulties in finding medical supplies and even comparing prices. The commission of Tomás Díaz Ayuso, dedicated to the health sector for more than two decades, is justified, according to the public ministry. It added, according to Anticorruption, "value to the commercial process of this company through its knowledge of health management and the health market, suppliers and potential customers, as well as the qualities and specifications of the products in demand."
Nor has he considered it significant that Priviet Sportive, a company owned by a childhood friend of the Ayuso brothers, did not have previous experience in the business of medical supplies or healthcare in general or that it was in a delicate financial situation. In fact, the chief anti-corruption prosecutor Alejandro Luzón justifies it in his file decree: "This is something that, on the other hand, was not uncommon in those days when countless companies around the world, especially textiles, temporarily derived their business to the commercialization of protective material against COVID-19", he says. In the case of Medina and Luceño, this inexperience in the health world is taken into account as another indication of the City Council fraud.
The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office also explores the possibility that the company had incurred in an incompatibility to be able to sign contracts with the Community of Madrid, and understands that there was no impediment because the Public Sector Contracts Law only monitors family relationships between managers of a company and the public office that signs the contract, not that of the commission agents who are in charge, precisely, of guiding the company when deciding which door to knock on. In addition, he defends, the president of the Community of Madrid was not part of the specific body that managed the contract.
No relative of Isabel Díaz Ayuso occupies a position of responsibility in Priviet Sportive, but the role that her brother played remains outside the limits of that law: he worked as a commission agent and facilitator, as recognized by the Prosecutor's Office itself, he played a fundamental role so that the company obtained that million and a half euros from the public coffers. The objective was for Priviet to take advantage of "its experience and logistical and financial capacity to import from the Asian market," says the Prosecutor's Office itself. Tomás Díaz Ayuso was in a hidden copy of the emails, so the officials did not know of his existence but he monitored the relationship between the company and the Community of Madrid, without, according to the version that has been offered to the Prosecutor's Office and that repeats the president of the Community, Isabel Díaz Ayuso knew nothing about the contract.
In other words, for the Prosecutor's Office to have considered that Priviet Sportive could not contract with the Community of Madrid, the company would have had to be owned by Tomás Díaz Ayuso, who is safe from any suspicion in the Anti-Corruption brief because he only acted as a commission agent . "It would have to be its administrator or shareholder of more than 10% and, in addition, there would be a conflict of interest with the contracting body, which is not the president of the Community or its Governing Council," says the Prosecutor's Office. The presence of a commission agent related to politicians who direct the Administration, therefore, does not prevent the company that hires him from receiving commissions from the institution.
There is also no reproach for Isabel Díaz Ayuso because, on the one hand, there is no proof that she pressured any member of the regional executive to hire the company from which her brother was paid, but she was not in the organizations that managed the contract either. "It has not intervened in the procedure, given that the Governing Council is not a contracting body in the Community of Madrid," settles the Prosecutor's Office.
The judicial route has been closed in Spain after this decree of the Prosecutor's Office, but the investigation is still open at European level. The European Public Prosecutor's Office, which carried out a resounding confrontation with the Spanish Public Ministry for taking control of the case, continues to investigate whether this purchase of masks at triple the market price using community funds could incur some type of illegality.
At the moment the European body has not made public the proceedings and inquiries it has carried out during these months, but the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has sent some of the most important evidence it has collected. "A copy of the statements made in these investigative proceedings by [diferentes testigos] and by D. Tomás Díaz Ayuso, together with the reports of the support units and units attached to this Prosecutor's Office and different documentation," he explains.
The result of the investigation in Spain confirms that Ayuso's brother collected from the successful bidder of the Community of Madrid an amount similar to that which the former president of the PP, Pablo Casado, made public, and for which he asked the regional president for explanations. But according to the Prosecutor's Office, there is no reason to file a complaint because there is no evidence of illegality or that the family relationship between Isabel Díaz Ayuso and her brother had any influence on the contract for the masks that his Government awarded to a friend of both. Nor in the payments of the latter to Tomás Díaz Ayuso himself.