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Óscar Puente dismisses the general secretary of State Ports for the order of the masks

MADRID, 5 Mar.

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Óscar Puente dismisses the general secretary of State Ports for the order of the masks


The Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Óscar Puente, has dismissed the Secretary General of State Ports, Álvaro Sánchez Manzanares, for his responsibility in the acquisition of 20 million masks from the company involved in the 'Koldo' plot.

Sources from the Ministry have confirmed to Europa Press this dismissal, which coincides with the trip that Puente began this Monday to Morocco to discuss with the government representatives of that country issues of common interest in matters of transportation and infrastructure and to learn about the projects that are going to be carried out. develop.

However, the minister follows everything related to this plot very closely, since the Ministry he has directed since last December was the epicenter of these contracts, when José Luis Ábalos was minister of the branch.

In this case, Puertos del Estado, the public company that manages all Spanish public ports for goods and passengers, depends directly on this ministerial department and was the first to contract with the plot to obtain masks in the midst of the outbreak of the pandemic. Covid-19 for an amount of 20 million euros.

As 'El País' has advanced, this dismissal responds to the minister's lack of confidence in the Secretary General of State Ports after more information about the plot became known. This is the first dismissal in the Ministry since it emerged, since many of those responsible are not still active due to the different renovations that have been carried out in recent years, in which there have been three different ministers: Ábalos, Raquel Sánchez and now Puente.

The Tax Agency has already warned in a report prepared on the plot of the 'Koldo case' "important contradictions" between the version offered by Puertos del Estado - purchaser of masks - and the one given by Soluciones de Gestión - the epicenter company of the plot--. While Puertos denies knowing the alleged getter Víctor de Aldama, the company provides evidence in which it indicates that it did hold a meeting with the public entity.

This contradiction is reflected in the report that the Tax Agency delivered on February 2 to the investigating judge of the National Court, Ismael Moreno, and to which Europa Press has had access.

In it, it is specified that the investigated company Soluciones de Gestión in January 2021 provided "in an orderly manner and for each intermediary and purchase operation a series of evidence in the form of 'Whatsapp' screenshots and emails" that would attest to the De Aldama's relationships "with a good part of the mask intermediaries" and evidence of relationships with "some of the institutional clients."

The report details that despite this evidence provided by Soluciones de Gestión, a company that is controlled by the investigated Juan Carlos Cueto - the alleged 'mastermind' of the plot -, the representatives of Puertos del Estado, and other clients, denied that relationship with De Aldama. "On the part of public clients, Mr. De Aldama's participation is denied in an absolutely general way," he adds.

But the Tax Agency confronts the version of the final clients of the masks with what is maintained by Management Solutions in relation to, for example, State Ports.

Thus, in its 52-page report, it reflects a response from State Ports that states that "the emergency contracting carried out is due to exceptional circumstances caused by the international pandemic that causes the epidemic outbreak of COVID-19 and the declaration of a state of alarm by Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14".

To this, the public body adds that, apart from the above, "it has never had any relationship or link with the aforementioned companies or with Mr. Víctor Gonzalo de Aldama, so they are not known nor, therefore, habitual."

In any case, Puertos del Estado then clarifies that "if the choice as supplier of this purchased merchandise - the masks - was due to the participation of these companies and the person designated as an intermediary", the choice as supplier of the purchased merchandise "It was not due to the participation of these companies and the person identified as an intermediary."

Thus, he emphasizes in his response to the Tax Agency that he was "unaware" of the existence of De Aldama - to date "or his possible connection with the winning company", and emphasizes that "everything related to the indicated contracting file, "was carried out exclusively with the company Soluciones de Gestión". This response from the public entity was signed by its president Álvaro Rodríguez Dapena.

Óscar Puente