The commissioners of the mask case, Luis Medina and Alberto Luceño, appeared for an hour this Monday before the judge investigating their commissions. An interrogation in which they have tried to justify their millionaire commissions. Before Judge Adolfo Carretero, they explained how they contacted the City Council and also that they wanted to sell medical supplies to the Community of Madrid. In addition, they have defended the legality of an operation that the judge describes as fraudulent and for which he has charged them with the crimes of fraud, false documents and money laundering. Luis Medina, who is also accused of raising assets, has defined himself as a “raw materials broker” to explain that, before the COVID crisis, his experience was limited to trading food.
Luis Medina recognizes the judge who sought Almeida’s cousin because it was the way to access the City Council
Broker and facilitator
The two accused have had to explain to the judge why they charged millionaire commissions. The first to testify was Luis Medina. The aristocrat, son of Naty Abascal and the Duke of Feria, explained to the judge that he is a “raw materials broker” and specified when the judge asked him to specify more: “Buying and selling of mining, food, meat, chicken, pork …” Later he recognized that this sale of masks, tests and gloves to the Madrid City Council in the midst of a pandemic was his first approach to the business of medical supplies.
Alberto Luceño, who testified next, explained Medina’s role in other words. “In Luis’s case he was a facilitator, in my case he was an agent,” he has said. The judge has been especially incisive in the part of the interrogation where he tried to determine why Luis Medina Abascal charged more than 900,000 euros for having a contact, in this case a cousin of the mayor of Madrid, who gave them the email of the high position who was in charge of the purchases in the Consistory. “Does it seem normal to you to earn a million euros for that, for a simple phone call?” Asked the magistrate. Luceño has implied that yes.
the mayor’s cousin
The first part of both interrogations has focused on determining how the commission agents landed at the Madrid City Council and how they found the contact of the high position that, specifically, carried these contracts. Alberto Luceño has discharged all the responsibility on his “facilitating” partner Luis Medina and he has explained the path that led him to the public coffers. He first spoke with the director of a university he had attended in the past and explained that she wanted to contact the City Council to offer masks and medical supplies. She, according to her version, gave him the phone number of Carlos Martínez-Almeida, a lawyer and cousin of the alderman whom she did not know “at all”.
The son of the Duke of Feria has made it clear to the judge why he wanted to talk to him. “I called Carlos Martínez-Almeida and told him that we had medical supplies to sell. Being the mayor’s cousin, I imagined that he could give me a contact at City Hall. He gave me an email, which I think was from Elena Collado”. The budget coordinator who managed the emergency contracting channeled through the municipal funeral home.
The commission agents did the business of their lives in the Madrid City Council, but it was not their only objective. The summary includes how there were also plans to try to sell sanitary material in Andalusia, and today’s statements have revealed that another of the objectives was the Community of Madrid. “I tell her that I want to contact the Community or the City Council”, she explained that she told her friend in common with Carlos Martínez-Almeida before embarking on the road to the town hall and the three contracts investigated.
Help and collect
Throughout the interrogation, the judge has asked a dozen times if it seemed normal to them to hide from the Madrid City Council that they were going to charge a commission, as well as its volume: more than half of what the consistory was going to pay. “My intention was part of helping the City Council and, of course, charging for my work,” said Alberto Luceño when asked by the magistrate.
It is an aspect that the judge affects in the order written this Monday. “Luceño, in total collusion with Mr. Medina, deceived and for profit concealed from the City Council that the price of the masks had risen by 60%,” says the magistrate’s brief, for example. There where the two commission agents have explained that it is “normal” in the international market not to communicate the seller’s commissions to the buyer, the judge affirms that “these contracts constitute a criminalized legal business or aggravated fraud.”
A “clean operation”
Both Medina and Luceño have defended with difficulty the legality of their millionaire management, with arguments that have not convinced the investigating judge, as can be seen from the order that he issued a few hours after listening to them. “Do you consider that you have not committed any crime, that you have carried out a clean operation with the Madrid City Council?”, the judge asked, to which Luceño answered affirmatively: “I believe that I have not committed any crime”.
Something similar to what was expressed by Luis Medina Abascal. “I didn’t think it was anything irregular,” he has said. During his appearance at the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office a year ago, prosecutor Luis Rodríguez Sol expressly warned him of the possibility of incurring a new crime if he got rid of these assets and could not afford bail. “He did not warn me, and if he sees his honor, he will be able to see the video”, however, the son of the Duke of Feria said this Monday.
The mysterious San Chin Choon
The judge has also been very interested in the figure of San Chin Choon, the director of the Malaysian company Leno who brought the material to Madrid and who, for now, has refused to testify in this case. Alberto Luceño stated at the beginning of his statement that he had contacted him and that he was going to testify. Later, even, he has said that he has already declared, to which the judge has shown his surprise. Luceño has also charged San Chin Choon with the decision to quantify the commissions that he was going to charge each one.
These explanations, from what emerges from the precautionary measures order, have contributed to increasing the perception of the risk of flight of the examining magistrate. In his car, Adolfo Carretero explains that he has no reliable news of the Malaysian businessman and that he is withdrawing their passports given the possibility that they will leave Spain to “manipulate evidence with the Malaysian commission payer, whose collaboration with the Spanish Justice so far is null”.