The Madrid City Council agreed with a commission agent that part of the masks be sent to his wife’s hospital

“I continue to work with all the resources I can, which are not few, to serve as soon as possible, being very aware of the responsibility.” These words came from the mobile phone of businessman Alberto Luceño on March 26, 2020. With the three contracts for masks, tests and gloves signed and partially paid by the Madrid municipal funeral home, the commission agents negotiated details with the City Council while, behind, They were already impatiently waiting for their millionaire loot from the Malaysian supplier. But the succession of messages between Luceño and Elena Collado, a high-ranking City Council official, lasted until November of that year and along the way the businessman, now charged, had time to ask that each member of his family have four COVID tests from the purchase of the consistory and to plan that 50,000 masks would end up in the hospital where his wife worked.

Alberto Luceño, the unknown businessman who charged five million in commissions and betrayed his partner

Alberto Luceño, the unknown businessman who charged five million in commissions and betrayed his partner

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It was at the end of April 2020, when the masks were already in Madrid and when both Alberto Luceño and Luis Medina had received collections from Malaysia at their bank in Madrid with the title “mask” or “commission”. Luceño asks Collado: “What I will ask you for, please, is that when the tests arrive, I can have 4 for each member of the family.” She replies, “Of course.” Messages from a month later imply that this test delivery did not take place when, already in May, Luceño explains that both he and Luis had already taken the tests previously.

The contract to bring tests was the least profitable for the City Council. According to the Court of Auditors, each test cost more than 16 euros, by far the highest price paid by a city council in our country in those first weeks of the pandemic. From there came a large commission for Luceño and, in addition, finally a good part of the tests were not very sensitive and therefore useless. The relationship via WhatsApp between Luceño and Collado lasted until at least November 13, 2020, ten days after the Prosecutor’s Office began its investigation.

It was not the only reference in these conversations to Alberto Luceño, his family and the material that he himself had brought from China at exorbitant prices. In April 2020, a few days before the FFP2 masks they had bought arrived, he and the council official agreed that 50,000 masks would go to the Puerta de Hierro Hospital where his wife works as a nephrologist. “I sent you an email about the donation. But you haven’t answered me. When will the 50 thousand masks arrive at Puerta de Hierro ”, Luceño asks his interlocutor. “With what arrives, it goes directly to the Charo hospital,” Collado said days before.

Two days later, Luceño himself coordinated the arrival of the masks at the hospital. “I have already coordinated with Roberto at 10:30 in Puerta de Hierro,” he tells her. Shortly before, Elena Collado had given him Roberto Moreira’s contact. A few days later, Luceño boasted about the success of sending masks to the center: “My wife’s hospital called me to thank me, all the specialties are delighted,” he said. “My wife tells me that heads of other specialties approach her every day to tell her that they are delighted and that many thanks to the City Council and to me”, he also stated.

The purchase of masks was also one of the big businesses for Luceño and Medina, according to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. They bought a million masks for more than six million euros and each had agreed to a commission of one million. The margin was so high that Luceño, behind the back of his partner, took two million more.

months of messages

As this newspaper reveals this Wednesday, the messages between Luceño and the town hall official reflect the call of the mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, to the commission agent Luis Medina Abascal when he did not know that he was a commission agent and, according to the councilman, to give him the Thank you for the donation of more than 100,000 masks. From the beginning, the mayor has defended that the call took place once the contracts were awarded, and it is true, but later the high-ranking Elena Collado continued exchanging messages with Alberto Luceño for months.

Messages that, above all, dealt with details about the delivery of the material that barely arrived from China, the problems that arose at customs and this delivery of masks to the hospital where Luceño’s wife worked, but also other things.

They tried, for example, the return of the shipment of gloves that did not fit what the City Council had bought. They also addressed the price of these nitrile gloves. In September and October they were still discussing how to get the reagents to Spain that would supposedly help improve the sensitivity of the tests they bought months ago. And a final message that demonstrates a new offer, this failed one, of antigen tests: “You didn’t tell me anything about the antigen tests I sent you,” says Luceño. Elena Collado answers: “Sorry, I had bought Madrid Salud 60,000 a month or so ago.”

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