Video |  This is how the Madrid City Council admitted the position that charged a 3% commission for helping to win a work

—Is it true that Mansaluve issued another three invoices until completing five invoices for an amount of 151,740 euros?

-Correct.

—Does that amount correspond to 3% of the amount awarded for the work?

-Yes.

With these words, Pablo Pradillo, head of the Madrid EMT (Municipal Transport Company) Division and manager of the Mansaluve company, admitted to a judge that he had charged a 3% commission for helping a construction company win an award of the public company itself. As revealed by EL PAÍS, this position of the EMT and son of the manager of the Regional Transport Consortium during the Governments of Esperanza Aguirre (PP), José Manuel Pradillo, received more than 150,000 euros for helping a Temporary Union of Companies (UTE ), headed by the construction company Inesco, to obtain the reform project for the Operations Center of the Fuencarral district, for which the City Council of the capital paid more than five million euros (not including VAT). The Consistory has opened an internal file and the Office against Fraud and Corruption has also initiated its own investigations.

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The statement, to which this newspaper had access, was produced on February 17. Pradillo went as a witness to the Court of Instruction 29 of Madrid, which settles a legal battle between the three companies that make up the UTE. One of these companies, Ciser, denounced the other two (Inesco and Asfaltos y Pavimentos, headed by the same person, Mateo Velasco Ghisleri) for crimes of fraud and unfair administration, among others. And, during his statement, the head of the Division detailed the contractual relationship that he had maintained with these companies and how he collaborated in drafting the “financial and technical offer” for the Fuencarral work. Of course, Pradillo alleged that just at that moment he was in a period of “voluntary leave” in the EMT.

This recording is known after the Government of José Luis Martínez-Almeida (PP) has extended a cloak of silence on the case. The management of the EMT has refused to provide the opposition and the directors of the public company with the file initiated against the worker a month ago, as well as the contract under suspicion and the allegations presented by Pradillo, who was given 72 hours to provide your version. The City Council hides behind the fact that the Anti-Corruption Office has opened some “confidential” investigations, although this process is carried out separately from the other.

For the political groups, Pradillo’s testimony is key since, after the scandal was revealed, the popular councilor and president of the EMT, Borja Carabante, questioned whether the head of the Division himself had admitted that he had collected the 150,000 euros. “If Pradillo recognizes [la comisión]he and the people who awarded him will have a problem […] I haven’t talked to Pradillo about the commission. If he recognizes it, there has been a very serious irregularity, “said the mayor on May 3, before adding:” But that must be seen and must be demonstrated.

The president of the EMT and councilor for the Environment and Mobility, Borja Carabante, in a file image.
The president of the EMT and councilor for the Environment and Mobility, Borja Carabante, in a file image.Eph

But the answers he gave before the judge, to questions from the lawyers of the parties, are forceful.

—Mansaluve issued an invoice the day after the work was awarded to the UTE, on July 12, 2019, for an amount of 15,000 euros plus VAT? —asked one of the lawyers, who reviewed the five invoices that the Pradillo company turned over to the construction company between 2019 and June 2021.

“Yes, I think so,” answers the Division chief.

—Do you know the concept of the mentioned invoice?

-No the truth is no. Well, the concept would be technical assistance…

In the first phase of the interrogation, after the judge warns him that he has an obligation to tell the truth when he comes as a witness, Pradillo admits that he knows Velasco Ghisleri personally – they were classmates at the university, as he himself explained to EL PAÍS —; that he was temporarily on “voluntary leave” at the EMT at the time of the award; and that he received 3%. The EMT worker defends the legality of the money he collected. According to him, there is no type of incompatibility because he was on “voluntary leave” at the time of the bidding for the work. At the end of 2018, he agreed to his temporary departure from the company. Only a few weeks later, the EMT finished the project under suspicion and put it out to tender. The worker returned to the public company in September 2021, just three months after receiving the last payment from the UTE. On this last aspect, one of the lawyers asks him precisely.

—If the offer was presented in April 2019, why this delay in the presentation of the last invoice?

—Because the agreement also included post-award technical assistance… —Pradillo defends himself.

Pradillo said that he agreed to leave the EMT at the end of 2018 for a “personal issue” and that, therefore, there were no incompatibilities to work for the UTE: “My wife was given a very good offer to go to Mexico. And I voluntarily asked her to leave for three years. That’s why we left.” A few months earlier, the EMT had suspended 60 days of employment and salary “for alleged irregularities in the control of works due to asbestos” in a company facility, according to company sources. “It is a period in which the opportunity to leave opens up, in which I leave the company. And then I am the one who decides, or not, if I want to go back to those years,” Pradillo added before the judge, before insisting that he was “out of the EMT” at that time: “He could not have returned.”

The head of the Division also explained that the work under suspicion was “quite complex”: “It was made up of 20 different actions for everything that is the Fuencarral garage, which is very old […] Some were simple because they were pure demolitions, maybe; but they all had a certain complexity due to the issue of asbestos. And I knew that garage very well because she had also had many previous performances during the stage in which I was working at the EMT. Me expertise It was very valuable.” “There was little time to prepare. [la oferta]”, stressed Pradillo: “In tenders, the time slots given are very short. And get to know in depth what the original installation is like and what needs to be done… […] I knew all of this in detail.”

Communications with the EMT

Pradillo was very careful with his words when answering the question of whether, during the period of the competition and adjudication of the work, he had any conversation, meeting or encounter with someone from the EMT. “About this statement, no,” replied the head of Division. Among other aspects, the Madrid Anti-Corruption Office, directed by Carlos Granados, former State Attorney General and retired Supreme Court magistrate, is investigating which City Council employees were involved in that adjudication, in addition to Pradillo’s relationship with the EMT and his work within of the company. In the case of finding indications of irregularities or offences, this body lacks sanctioning capacity, but it can bring the facts to the attention of the competent Administration or the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

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