The investigation of the irregular commissions in the purchase of masks in Almería points to another high position of the Diputación | Spain

The deputy delegate of the Presidency, Fight against Depopulation and Tourism of the Almería Provincial Council, Fernando Giménez, during the distribution of hygienic-sanitary material to 98 municipalities of the province in August 2020.
The deputy delegate of the Presidency, Fight against Depopulation and Tourism of the Almería Provincial Council, Fernando Giménez, during the distribution of hygienic-sanitary material to 98 municipalities of the province in August 2020.Almería Provincial Council

The investigations of case Masks They point to the involvement of a new high position in the Almeria Provincial Council and the right hand of its president, Javier Aureliano García. The deputy delegate of the Presidency, Fight against Depopulation and Tourism, Fernando Giménez Giménez, is called to testify as an investigated next February 4 by videoconference before the judge of Barcelona who is instructing the case, Ángeles Fernández Tió, as he has learned this newspaper through the reports and police and judicial actions to which it has had access. The corruption plot investigated allegedly charged illegal commissions of between 200,000 and 400,000 euros to the former third vice president of the Almería Provincial Council – governed by the PP – for the award of a contract for the supply of sanitary material at the start of the pandemic for the amount of two million euros to a company whose owner is linked to drug trafficking, arms sales and money laundering.

According to the order issued by the judge on October 7, the contracting proposal for the supply of FFP-2 masks, protective overalls and nitrile gloves that Aureliano signed on April 8, 2020 with the company Azor Corporate Ibérica , He started from Giménez and for that reason he is being investigated. In addition to being the right-hand man of the president of the Almería Provincial Council and president of the PP in that province —the most important provincial organization of the popular in Andalusia—, Giménez is the deputy secretary of Organization of the party in Almería and served as Gabriel Amat’s chief of staff. —The mayor of Roquetas de Mar, whose City Council is the epicenter of another investigation into alleged corruption of the popular, although he is not charged— between 2011 and 2018, when he was president of the Almeria Provincial Council,

In the award of that contract, according to the judge, “Óscar Manuel Rodrigo Liria Sánchez intervened decisively”, one of the main investigated in the case who “would receive between 200,000 and 400,000 euros in commission”, indicates the order consulted. Liria Sánchez was arrested in June 2021, when the operation was uncovered. At that time he was third vice president of the Almería Provincial Council and, as soon as his arrest was known, he was dismissed and expelled from the PP.

Father, brother, uncle, cousin and girlfriend, allegedly involved

A good part of the imputations of the case masks revolves around the family and business environment – closely linked one with the other – of Liria, whose center of operations is located in the Almeria municipality of Fines (2,200 inhabitants), of which the former vice president of the Provincial Council was also a councilor at the time of his arrest and whose record he resigned on June 30. His uncle and mayor of the town since 2003, Rodrigo Sánchez Simón (PP), is also called to testify by videoconference as an investigated person on January 21, according to the ruling issued by the judge on November 22.

Sánchez Simón was administrator until 2017 of Comercial del Seguro del Almanzora, SL, an insurer based in Fines whose current sole administrator is his ex-sister-in-law Hortensia López Moreno, aunt in turn of Kilian López, the owner of Azor, the company that is benefited from the alleged tampering with the contract for the supply of sanitary material and that he was the one who detonated the entire Case Masks, since the investigation began due to his alleged connection with a criminal organization dedicated to drug trafficking in Europe, arms trafficking, extortion and money laundering. Another of the companies managed by Kilian López, Pulconal SL, has also benefited from 13 contracts awarded by the Almería Provincial Council, according to the order of the judge of October 2021. Hortensia López is also called to testify as a defendant on the 21st from January.

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The alleged family and business connections of the mayor of Fines and his nephew and former vice president of the Provincial Council, do not end with his ex-sister-in-law. Sánchez Simón’s son and Liria’s cousin, Rodrigo Sánchez López, was intercepted by the Civil Guard on June 15, 2021, when he took 119,945 euros in cash from the home of Liria’s father. After being arrested, the agents searched the home of his cousin’s father, Francisco Liria Valdez, where they found another 29,500 euros in cash distributed in three envelopes. The ownership of the 176,1955 euros seized in total “would be indicially attributable to Óscar Manuel Liria and could also have its origin in the payment of illegal commissions that are investigated”, concludes the investigation report prepared by the UCO.

That same day, at the home of Óscar Manuel Liria there were also 26,750 euros distributed in envelopes – one with 8,000; another with 7,800 and a third with 6,300 euros – and in different articles of clothing, which the investigators also allegedly relate to the illegal commissions from the contract for sanitary material signed between the Diputación de Almería and Kilian López.

The father of the former vice president of the Almería Provincial Council is also called to declare as being investigated on February 4. The judge is also investigating the gift by her son of a high-end car (a BMW X3) that, allegedly, he would have acquired “with funds of unknown origin that may be related to the alleged crimes under investigation”, from according to the UCO investigation.

It is not the only vehicle purchase made by Liria that is under suspicion and that could have been paid on account of the bites obtained by the former high-ranking official of the Almeria PP. The acquisition of another BMW by the former vice president of the Provincial Council to his girlfriend and the disbursement of 20,000 euros as a ticket for a house for the couple, are also under the magnifying glass of the investigation that considers that they could have been used as a mechanism to launder the money obtained from the bites, according to the UCO report. The bride is also called to testify as a defendant on February 4.

In the purchase of that car, the use of a network of family businesses as a screen to hide the origin of the money is investigated. The Civil Guard has focused the investigations on the commercial companies Al Miraya and Gesa, both located in Fines, both managed by the mayor’s son and both linked to his cousins, Óscar and his brother Francisco Liria Sánchez – which is also being investigated in the case. for which you will have to declare on January 21. Another of the entities linked in this plot is García Construcción Sostenible, whose “de facto administrator” is Juan Antonio Manrique Vargas and who also appears as a defendant. The three entities “would have supported the Liria brothers to hide the origin of the cash that the third vice president would have contributed to compensate Al Miraya for the payment of the funds that it would have disbursed to meet the monthly installments of the financial lease.” for the purchase of the BMW for his girlfriend, is included in the UCO report.

Almería, focus of the latest cases of alleged corruption of the PP

The province of Almería has traditionally been the fiefdom of the PP. Its most powerful organization is located there and there the President of Andalusia, Juan Manuel Moreno, will hold the Governing Council meeting this Tuesday. But in recent weeks, that territory is also the one that is giving the worst news regarding corruption to the party that governs the Junta. At the end of December this newspaper advanced that the judge investigating the supposed box b of the PP from Almeria charged the secretary of the Roquetas de Mar City Council, Guillermo Lago; the Councilor for Finance and Contracts, Teresa Fernández; the former inspector Luis Ortega; and three municipal techniques. Weeks later, the same magistrate expanded the accusations in the surroundings of the Mojonera City Council, another of the epicenters of the alleged illegal financing of the popular, cited her former mayor, José Cara, and 19 other people as investigated, including the current one Minister of Agriculture, Carmen Crespo, although her call to testify was annulled days later because it was gauged.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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