The general coordinator of the Mayor’s Office of Madrid, Matilde García Duarte, has left José Luis Martínez Almeida this Friday on the sidelines of the contacts maintained with Luis Medina and Alberto Luceño to contract the purchase of gloves and masks in the first days of the pandemic. García Duarte has declared as a witness before Judge Adolfo Carretero, that she is investigating the acquisition of sanitary material for 15.8 million euros, of which Medina and Luceño received almost six million in commissions. The municipal coordinator was the one who provided a generic email address to Carlos Martínez-Almeida, cousin of the mayor, and to whom the brother of the Duke of Feria had gone to try to contact the City Council. According to municipal sources, García Duarte has confirmed that she provided this email to Almeida’s cousin, whom she had known for 16 years, but she has assured that she did not inform the mayor of that conversation.
The version of the coordinator of the Mayor’s Office derives all the responsibility for the hiring of the commission agents in Elena Collado, the official responsible for the Purchasing department of the Madrid City Council who maintained fluid contact with Medina and Luceño. As explained at the exit of the courts by the lawyer for Más Madrid, Nuria Zapico, present at the statement as a popular accusation, García Duarte has assured that Collado, a senior official in the Treasury and Personnel area of the Madrid City Council, was the one in charge of purchases during the pandemic, although it has not been able to specify who assigned that competence to it.
Both officials maintained contact those days and, according to the emails provided to the case and for which García Duarte was asked this Friday, Collado assured him in a message that they had “renounced all kinds of commissions.” “Our suppliers Luis Medina Abascal and Alberto Luceño (who has companies in China but is Spanish), who should be given several medals, are taking care of the ‘big’ part of our needs. We have been talking since Friday and they have waived all kinds of commissions. We are even going to receive material that they are going to donate to the Puerta del Hierro Hospital (where Alberto’s wife works),” Collado wrote to the coordinator of the Mayor’s Office on March 23, 2020. A day later, Collado sent him a graphic indicating that Medina and Luceño “do not charge commission”. Collado testified as a witness on May 27 and assumed responsibility for the purchase, but did not allude to commissions.
García Duarte explained that she was in charge of coordinating the donations and, in those days of mid-March 2020, she spoke with anyone who could send medical supplies to the City Council. The coordinator of the Mayor’s Office has assured that she followed the protocol established by her team in the first days of the pandemic, which consisted in everything that came to them, and was not a donation, was sent to those responsible for purchases and to the Community from Madrid. And so she has assured that she took over Medina’s offer. She has admitted that she was informed of the amount of the masks that the two commission agents were selling, much higher than most of those that the City Council was acquiring, but García Duarte has affirmed before the judge that she did not question “the price differences ”.
The coordinator of the Mayor’s Office has corroborated the version of the mayor’s cousin, which coincides with that of the City Council itself, according to which she called Carlos Martínez-Almeida directly to tell him that he had a person with “an import company and with the possibility to bring medical supplies” and ask him if there was an address to which Medina could send his offer. And García Duarte gave him the general mail from the Mayor’s Office.
García Duarte has said that that was one more offer of the many that came those days and, although he has admitted having spoken directly with Medina by phone, he has assured that he did so with many others who contacted by generic email to offer material sanitary. According to her version, she did not know Medina nor did she know that he was the brother of the Duke of Feria, but she called him, as she did in other cases, to find out if he was offering a donation or a sale, and when she found that it was the latter, referred him to the purchasing department.
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