The keys to understanding the mask scam in Madrid

  • Two businessmen, through Martínez-Almeida’s cousin, received 6 million euros and are now accused of three crimes

At the beginning of the pandemic, when the number of deaths from coronavirus reached its record figure, it was gestated in Madrid the ball of the masks. Two businessmen received commissions close to six million euros through contracts with the City Council of the capital. The movements of large amounts of money alerted the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Officewhose complaint has been accepted by the courts.

Who are the protagonists?

  • louis medina, son of the late Duke of Feria and the model Naty Abascal, is one of the businessmen who signed a contract with the Madrid City Council for which he received a commission of close to a million dollars. The investigation of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor maintains that it was he who contacted the council through the mayor’s cousin.
  • Alberto Luceno He is the second businessman to reach agreements with the City Council, presenting himself as an exclusive agent with factories at his disposal in China to access the products, which were then scarce on the international market. He received almost 5 million dollars in commissions.
  • Carlos Martinez-Almeida He is the cousin of Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida. Graduated in Law from the Complutense University of Madrid, he has a law firm, Martínez-Almeida Abogados. Presumably, he was the one who put both businessmen in contact with those responsible for City Hall purchases.
  • Elena Collado She is the general coordinator of Budgets and Human Resources of the Madrid City Council since 2019 and the one in charge of negotiating the contracts with Medina and Luceño. Always linked to the PP, she was Secretary of State for Public Function under the orders of former Minister of Finance Cristobal Montoro.
  • Jose Luis Martinez-Almeidathe mayor of Madrid, claims to be unaware of what has happened, despite the fact that he had a call with one of the businessmen.

What were the facts?

In March 2020, days before the Government declared a state of alarm, businessmen louis medina Y Alberto Luceno They contacted the purchasing manager of the Madrid City Council, Elena Collado. They had come to her through Carlos Martinez-Almeidathe mayor’s cousin, Jose Luis Martinez Almeida. They presented themselves as “exclusive agents” of different mask factories in China and offered the sale of medical supplies.

On March 24, with coronavirus data skyrocketing, they signed a contract for nearly €12 million with the Madrid City Council to supply masks, tests to detect covid and gloves. A week later, both received succulent transfers from a Malaysian bank. Medina received 999,882 dollars and Luceño 2,999,880 dollars.. The latter received two other transfers in April for subsequent shipments of material for a total value that exceeded 1,910,000 dollars.

They both went at a frantic pace to spend the money. medina was bought one yeit and Luceño paid an apartment in Pozuelo de Alarcón, three Rolex watches and a dozen high-end cars.

When observing the movements of large amounts of money, the alarms went off. The Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation and filed a complaint that has been admitted by the Court of Instruction number 47 of Madrid. Anti-corruption accuses them of three crimes: aggravated scam, falsity in commercial document Y money laundering.

The first of them, that of aggravated fraud, responds to the falsehoods offered by Medina and Luceño by presenting themselves as “exclusive agents” of Chinese factories. The investigation of the Prosecutor’s Office has shown that this was not the case. Besides, inflated the price of health products and they hid that much of it was for their commissions. The City Council paid 2 dollars for the gloves, 0.38 cents for the production company and 1.62 euros for commissions.

Upon receiving the commissions, both businessmen received requests from the banks to justify such amounts. In this case, they delivered documents that accredited them as exclusive agents of those companies. However, they have been shown to be false, which confronts them with the crime of falsifying a commercial document. Finally, they are accused of money laundering for the attempt to hide the commissions through shopping for luxury goods.

What is Almeida’s implication?

The mayor of Madrid has assured at all times not to know these facts. However, the summary of the case opened by the Court of Instruction number 47 in Madrid includes some messages between Luceño and Collado in which the former states that Martínez-Almeida spoke with Medina: “Luis has already told me that Almeida called him.” The mayor has acknowledged this contact, although he assures that it was only to thank him for a donation of masks that had been included in the business.

Do I really have to resign for being the victim of a crime?“, the mayor has come to say in recent days, before the criticism of the opposition formations.