Prime Minister Sánchez and Socialists in a corner due to Covid masks scandal

by admin
ábalos covid-masks

There has been a stir in Spain surrounding the trade in Covid masks. An important role is attributed to ex-minister Ábalos (PSOE). Spanish justice has launched an investigation into the government’s purchase of masks in the first months of the 2020 Covid pandemic.

Last Thursday, 20 suspects were arrested. Seven of them are accused by the National Court of Setting up a network to do business with the Ministries of Transport, Interior and Health of the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

High amounts to mediator

Significant sums of money are said to have flowed to Koldo García. He was an advisor to the then Socialist Minister of Transport José Luis Ábalos. The accused also include entrepreneur Juan Carlos Cueto and Victor de Aldama, president of FC Zamora football club. They are said to have carried out the mask transactions with their company Soluciones de Gestión. They did this even though they had no experience in the industry. Another accused is a Guardia Civil official, who is also said to have exerted influence in favour of the mask suppliers. This concerns a total of eight contracts with a value of €54 million. The suppliers are said to have made a profit of €16 million.

Cogesa Expats

Suspected of undue influence

Although the contracts themselves appear to be in order and deliveries have taken place, the suspicion of unfair influence remains. In particular through the advisor of then Minister Ábalos, Koldo García. Judge Moreno bases his accusations on tapped telephone conversations. These emerged in previous investigations against entrepreneur Cueto for suspicion of tax fraud. The judge also bases his accusations on García’s unusually high income. He is said to have amassed a fortune of €1.5 million between 2020 and 2022, which he invested in real estate.

Call to action from Prime Minister Sánchez

Although there are no direct accusations against ex-minister Ábalos, the conservative Partido Popular (PP) immediately demands his resignation. The PSOE leadership also wants him to do so because of his “political responsibility” in the Koldo case. Ábalos will remain in his parliamentary seat for the time being, but will switch to the Mixed Group. “I am not accused. If my sacrifice serves to clarify everything and clarify responsibilities, you can count on my cooperation. But not so that the judge can present a trophy,” Ábalos explains. However, he has decided to resign as chairman of the interior affairs committee in the Spanish Congress of Deputies. In response, the PSOE initiated disciplinary proceedings against him and provisionally suspended him as a party member. This was announced by Santos Cerdán, secretary of organisation of the PSOE.

Party leadership under pressure

Ábalos’ refusal to give up his seat increases pressure on the PSOE. There are fears that he could turn against the party hierarchy and as an independent MP. That endangers the already tight minority government. Still, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez reiterated his commitment against corruption. He also stressed the need for a “relentless” fight against corruption, “regardless of its source or whoever falls.” Sánchez assured full cooperation with the justice system to get to the bottom of the matter.

You may also like