La Audiencia reabre la causa penal contra la adjudicación a Minorbis de la mina de Aznalcóllar

Aznalcóllar mine in the province of Seville - ABC

Automated tanslation from Spanish into English of the article on (October 2, 2019): 

The Hearing reopens the criminal case against the award to Minorbis of the Aznalcóllar mine

He asks for the judicial declaration of the exinterventor general of the Board and today president of Sepi, as well as of the president of Magtel.

The seventh section of the Hearing, of which Mercedes Alaya is a member, has fully upheld the appeal course presented by Emérita Resources España against the decision of an Instruction Court to file the criminal case opened for alleged irregularities in the award procedure of the Aznalcóllar mine (Seville) by the Junta de Andalucía to the Mexico-Minorbis group (participated by Magtel).

The Court has revoked the dismissal of the case and has ordered the reopening of the case to confirm whether there were crimes of influence peddling, embezzlement and prevarication, among others. Likewise, it asks that the brothers Isidro and Mario López Magdaleno, vice-president and president of Magtel, respectively; and Vicente Cecilio Fernández Guerrero, ex-interventor general of the Junta de Andalucía and today president of the Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI), be taken as investigated.

Mario López Magdaleno (left) and Vicente Cecilio Fernández Guerrero (right) - ABC

In the court order, which states that the contest is full of "gross and crude" illegalities, states that the Junta de Andalucía must report through the Central Operative Unit (UCO) of the Guardia Civil of the positions held by the members on the hiring table and the technical committee three months before starting the bidding procedure, as well as the positions they held after it, specifying dates of promotion. In this sense, he points out that it would be advisable to practice the same diligence with respect to the former secretary of the Ministry of Innovation, Industry and Energy, Vicente Cecilio Fernandez Guerrero, between 2012 and 2016 has been general secretary of Innovation, Industry and Energy.

As will be remembered, the Court of Instruction 3 of Seville filed for the second time the criminal case of the Aznalcóllar mine, a contest that appealed the company that was not selected, Emérita Resources, of course rigged the process. The examining magistrate ruled out favourable treatment from the Board to Minorbis/Magtel, the successful bidder for the operation.

Arguments of Emerita

Emérita alleged that Minorbis-Grupo México´s offer did not meet the requirements of the competition rules, that it was less economically profitable for the public coffers, that there would have been a bribery crime because both members of the technical commission and of the contracting table were promoted close to the competition and that there was an alleged crime of influence peddling by Isidro and Mario López Magdaleno, vice president and president of Magtel, respectively, for their friendly relationship with Vicente Fernández Guerrero.

Emérita says that in 2014, Isidro López Magdaleno visited him to propose a recasting of the projects, alleging that Magtel "had the key to the contest" and, to prove it five minutes later, Vicente Fernández called him.


The court order states that Minorbis submitted the offer without proving its financial solvency. A posteriori, Grupo Mexico supported economically and financially that offer, but that support was left to its free will, although in the second phase of the contest the Board admitted "without objection" the figure of the consortium Mexico-Minorbis Group, says the Hearing.

In addition, Minorbis, created in March 2014, was newly created and had no experience in mining, according to the hearing. Emerita, according to the Court, did accredit the technical solvency required, as well as research permits in different areas.

In May 2015, the Board authorized the exploitation of the Aznalcóllar mine by the company Minera Los Frailes, created four months earlier by Minorbis (2.5%) and Grupo Mexico. Prior to acceptance, Minera Los Frailes was endowed with a share capital of 93 million. For the Audience, Grupo Mexico used Minorbis to enter the contest without participating in it.

The Audience considers "that Minorbis would have lost the mining rights derived from the award of the tender because it did not accept the award of the same and that its rights would be illegally held, with the consent of the Administration and following a preconceived plan, by another company controlled almost entirely by its shareholders, by an entity that did not participate in the tender. That is why there are powerful indications at this interim stage of the alleged commission of a crime of prevarication.

Alleged influence peddling

The Court orders the investigation of an alleged influence peddling crime after the e-mails between Vicente Fernández Guerrero and the directors of Magtel, in which Minorbis participates. "From them comes an excellent personal relationship between the two parties," he says. In 2014, Emérita also says that Magtel proposed that she rework the projects "because she had the key to the competition".

The Seville Court order states that in the e-mails "there was a stay of several days of the representatives of the company Magtel with Vicente Fernandez and with a person from the latter´s intimate circle, whose country of origin is Brazil", who would have organized Magtel´s meetings with people in charge of the international multinational Odebrecht.

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