The European Prosecutor's Office and Anti-Corruption clash again over an investigation into Ayuso government contracts
The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, during the control session this Thursday at the Madrid Assembly.
The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, during the control session this Thursday at the Madrid Assembly.Javier Lizon (EFE)

The European Prosecutor’s Office and Anti-Corruption collide again and they do so, once again, for an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the award of the Government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso of contracts to acquire medical supplies during the pandemic. On this occasion, the reason for the discrepancy is the complaint presented last April by the United We Can group in the Madrid Assembly to investigate the millionaire contracts awarded by the Community of Madrid to two companies, Air Global Media and Vin I doré 24K, without any experience in the sector. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office opened two investigative proceedings on June 3, one for each company, to investigate “the possible indications of the commission of criminal acts”, although it admits that these are for now “diffuse”. However, Anticorruption had agreed two weeks earlier to file the complaint, considering that the information provided in the complaint was not sufficient to initiate an investigation.

This is the second time in recent months that both prosecutors have faced each other. Last March, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office – an independent body that began operating in June 2021 to investigate crimes that threaten the financial interests of the EU – demanded information from Anticorruption about the investigation opened by it for the contract for the sale of masks to the Community of Madrid, from which Tomás Díaz Ayuso, brother of the Madrid president, received a commission. The European Prosecutor’s Office understood that in this adjudication a crime of embezzlement of European funds had been committed, since the masks were paid for with money from the Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the European Union. However, Anti-Corruption did not agree, considering that it did not appreciate at that time that this crime could have been committed, but, above all, because it concluded that the European department should not investigate the part related to influence peddling or prevarication, crimes that are within its jurisdiction. exclusive to the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Now the discrepancy is another. The European Prosecutor’s Office considers that the denunciation of United We Can has enough data to investigate, for the crimes of fraud against the EU budget and fraud, the award to Air Global Media and Vin Doré 24K by the emergency procedure ―an exceptional system that allows them to be given by hand without opening a file and with very few prior controls― of eight contracts, for a total of 22 million euros, to supply masks, surgical material, antigen tests and protective equipment against covid. Among the elements that stands out for this is that, when they benefited from the contracts, the former had as its declared activity the production of radio content on Formula 1 for mobile phones, while the latter sold sparkling wines with gold particles. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office detailed that its first investigations would be aimed at specifying “the possible indications of the commission of criminal acts, whose contours appear at this time vague” and that, therefore, it had not yet charged criminal acts to specific people.

On the contrary, Anticorruption – which cannot prevent the European from investigating alleged crimes derived from the misuse of European funds – considers that the complaint “does not provide any information or documentation, not even circumstantial” that “reveals the intervention of some official public [de la Comunidad de Madrid] that with their actions they have facilitated the achievement of the contracts or caused irregularities in their processing”. In this sense, the brief emphasizes that the complaint is based “on the suspicion that the complainant is infused” by the opacity of the annual accounts of one of the companies and the non-presentation of the same by the other, which it considers insufficient. to open an investigation.

“If we admit the suspicion as a reason to address the claim of the complainant, we would find ourselves before an investigation of a prospective nature”, a figure that, recalls the letter, is prohibited by the statute of the public prosecutor’s office. The letter also emphasizes that the competence to investigate the reported facts is the responsibility of Anticorruption, emphasizing the same idea that caused the confrontation in March with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. For all these reasons, agree to file the complaint

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