The judge investigating Podemos for alleged irregular financing doubts that the party paid the taxes that corresponded to the Madrid City Council for the works of its headquarters. The magistrate includes this suspicion in the car in which he files this part of the investigation, but sends information to the Madrid council of José Luis Martínez-Almeida“In case a final liquidation of the ICO (Tax on Construction and Works) should be made according to the real value” of the reform.
This was a part of the case that arose from the complaint filed by two former Podemos lawyers, who were dismissed by the party. Among the internal irregularities that they denounced, were the rehabilitation works of the party headquarters in 2019. They said, the initial price was set at around 650,000 euros and they ended up costing more than double.
The judge considers this price gap to be “unusual” and says that “it is totally contrary to the procedure of a public tender”. That is why he initiated an investigation for an alleged crime of misappropriation on the suspicion that the party was concealing payments other than the works. After the investigations carried out, the magistrate ruled out the possible crime, but explained that the value of the works included in the Execution Project did not correspond to the reality of market prices.
The architect’s explanation
The car you have had access to Vozpópuli It is based on the statement that the architect of the work gave as a witness. He declared that the final price, including a deviation for improvements of 21.19%, was 1,498,680.51 euros. He testified before the judge and then sent a letter expanding his explanations: it was in October 2018 when, At the request of Podemos, he made the Basic Reform Project that served to request the License Urban planning at the Madrid City Council. The consistory granted him the permits on March 25, 2019.
The architect reported that its initial assessment responded to minimum reference prices included in a computer application published by the Autonomous Community of Madrid in 2015 and which was not updated until 2020, after the reform. These minimum prices were used for the calculation of the ICO that must be advanced to the City Council and for the subsequent approval of the Execution Project in the College of Architects.
The Basic Project was valued at 630,710 euros, the Execution Project was increased to 649,936.68 euros due to minimal variations. But once the real market was used, the award skyrocketed up to 1.2 million and ended at almost 1.5 after a deviation from the work. According to the architect, once the work is finished, the tax payment has to be regularized according to the real price. This is the part that the judge has doubts about.
Pay less taxes
After analyzing all these data, Judge Escalonilla reaches the conclusion that Podemos did all this to pay less taxes: “It can be rationally concluded that the fact that both the Basic Project and later in the Execution Project set minimum prices, obtained from the previously exposed computer application published by the Autonomous Community of Madrid, It obeyed the purpose of paying a lower amount than the one coming to the Madrid City Council for the Construction Tax ”.
“In fact – warns the judge – the political party Podemos has been required on two occasions in order to present the supporting documentation of the regularization of the payment of said tax – due to a material error, reference was made to the payment of the building license – Until now, the document certifying the final settlement of the ICO amount has not been presented according to the real value of the works ”.
To clear up that doubt about whether or not Podemos paid the corresponding tax, the judge sends the Madrid City Council the brief presented by the architect of the work “In case the City Council should carry out a final settlement of the ICO according to the real value of the rehabilitation work ”.
Judge Escalonilla maintains Podemos as investigated for his relationship with the Neurona consultancy to which he paid 363,000 euros for electoral work that the judge suspects were not provided. Throughout the months that the investigation has lasted has been filing other irregularities included in the initial complaint such as the alleged fraudulent use of the party’s solidarity fund financed economically by the contributions of its members, the contract with another consulting firm called ABD, or access to the hard drive of one of its lawyers.
A false public tender
Regarding the works of the headquarters, Podemos sent the judge an internal chat of the party to try to demonstrate that they were advised by their former lawyer and now complainant, José Manuel Calvente. According to the writing of the purple formation published by this newspaper, it was Calvente “who informed that the publication of the tender was not even necessary in an emergency”.
Magistrate Escalonilla does not make any mention of this specific point in his filing order, but he does stop at the public bidding process for the work carried out by the party through its website. In the opinion of the head of the Court, “It is incidentally proven that the party did not actually tender said works” and thereby breached “the provisions of the Thirteenth Additional Provision of the Organic Law on financing of political parties” which includes the “Regime for contracting political parties.”
They were tendered on May 20, 2019 in six comprehensive blocks of different items and were finally awarded on June 3 of that year. The judge relies on the statements given by those responsible for the contracted companies, who confessed that the architect of the work, whom they knew before, He contacted them directly to offer them the job. In some case, according to the order, they were not even aware of the tender published on the web. The judge establishes that what Podemos did was a “direct contracting of the various items of the work to said six commercial companies” but maintains that this “does not constitute any crime.”
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