Orders for medical equipment during the state of alarm weren't subject to usual tendering procedures. | Archive


The current Balearic government and representatives of the previous PSOE-led government declined to make any statements on Wednesday about the criminal investigation into contracts for the purchase of medical equipment during the pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Audiencia Nacional high court in Madrid, acting on information from the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, ordered the arrests of twenty people. One of them was Koldo García, who was an advisor to the former Spanish minister of transport and development, José Luis Ábalos.

The affair has already been dubbed 'caso mascarillas' (masks), as principal among these contracts were ones for masks. The contracts are said to have been worth over 50 million euros, and the criminal investigation is understood to involve various ministries plus the administrations in the Balearics and the Canary Islands.

In one instance, the Balearic government signed a contract worth 3.7 million euros with a company called Soluciones de Gestión y Apoyo a Empresas SL, which is under investigation. The contract, which wasn't subject to the usual tendering process, was signed on May 8, 2020, when the state of alarm in Spain was still in effect.

This contract, according to former officials at the IB-Salut health service, was handled by the development ministry in Madrid. FFP2 masks cost 2.50 euros per unit. The procedure was to accept the materials provided and then verify them. On June 8, 2020, IB-Salut verified that these weren't FFP2 masks. The Balearic government had overpaid to the tune of 2.6 million euros.

The individuals arrested face charges of criminal organisation and bribery.