Dimite el presidente de la Sepi por la causa de la mina de Aznalcollar

The president of Sepi, Vicente Fernández, in the Industry Commission of the Congress of Deputies. BERNARDO DÍAZ

Automated tanslation from Spanish into English of the article on (October 4, 2019): 

Sepi president resigns over Aznalcóllar mine cause

The magistrates suspect that Vicente Fernández was able to benefit the awardees of the mine, with whom he had an "excellent" relationship.

The president of the Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (Sepi), Vicente Fernández, has resigned after hearing his indictment after the reopening of the case over the award of the Aznalcóllar mine, as announced by the acting Finance Minister, María Jesús Montero, reports Efe.

In an appearance in Algeciras, where he has met with businessmen to discuss the consequences of the brexit and announce the authorization of a tax precinct in the Campo de Gibraltar, Montero has said about Fernandez that "as soon as he has knowledge of the order has put his position at the disposal of the Government" and that the resignation will "materialize in the next Council of Ministers.

The contest by which the last government of Susana Diaz in Andalusia awarded the Aznalcóllar mine is full of illegalities "patents", illegalities "gross and crude" and there are indications not only that it was committed an alleged crime of prevarication and other embezzlement, but even a case of influence peddling. These are the arguments used by the Seville Provincial Court to order the reopening of a case that has already been filed twice and to which is now added the suspicion that the former high ranking member of the Board, Vicente Fernández, was able to manoeuvre in favour of the successful bidders, the owners of the Cordoba group Magtel who, in turn, would have acted as mere intermediaries to give "the pass" from the mine to the multinational Grupo Mexico, which is the one that has finally been done with the deposit.

In a very tough order, the Seventh Section of the Seville Court of Appeals upholds the appeal of the plaintiffs, Emerita Resources, and reiterates the indications of illegalities it already saw in 2016, when it reopened the case for the first time after the filing by the examining magistrate, Patricia Fernandez. But now he goes a step further by appreciating clear signs of influence peddling and pointing out, as the alleged maximum responsible, Fernandez, who was Secretary General of Industry of the Board when the mining tender was called, in 2015, and when it was awarded, a year later. He was then appointed by Susana Diazinterventor General of the Board, a position from which he jumped to the government of Pedro Sanchez, who appointed him president of the State Society of Industrial Participations (Sepi), a position from which he has just resigned.

In the order, signed by five magistrates and whose rapporteur is Judge Mercedes Alaya, there is talk of "ostensible evidence" of the commission of an alleged influence peddling crime and it highlights why Grupo Mexico did not attend the mining competition itself and, instead, turned to Minorbis, a subsidiary of Magtel. There is no reason, says the Court, unless it was because of the "advantages" that the Cordovan company of the brothers Isidro and Mario López Magdaleno was able to offer him to obtain the concession.

And that is where Vicente Fernández would enter, with whom the brothers had an "excellent personal relationship" according to the emails seized and analyzed by investigators of the Central Operative Unit of the Civil Guard (UCO), who crossed each other "even on Saturdays and Sundays at unseemly hours.

As a result of these emails, it has been known, for example, that the owners of Magtel asked Pedro Sánchez´s current high office to mediate in favour of certain business projects and that he even accepted the request to unify the municipal ordinances of the city councils for his benefit.

Although there is one fact that highlights the Audience above all others. It is a trip that Fernandez made with the businessmen and a person from his "intimate" environment in which meetings were organized between Magtel and officials of the Brazilian multinational Odebrecht, protagonist of the biggest corruption scandal in South America in recent years.

In the specific case of the Aznalcóllar mining contest, the judges of the Third Section allude to the supposed key role that Fernández could have played as a result of a meeting between the owners of Magtel and those of Emerita Resources - the denouncers - in which Isidro López Magdaleno boasted of having "the key to the contest" and announced that in five minutes someone from the Department of Innovation would call them. That call came and was made by the current president of Sepi.

But the audience doesn´t stop there. In addition to reiterating the indications that the contest was plagued with "severe illegality" and pointing out that Grupo Mexico should never compete or finally keep the mine, the car points to a possible crime of bribery by those involved in the contest, given the promotions that some of them received in the Board after the award of Aznalcóllar. For that reason, it orders that the members of the contracting board and the technical commission, as well as Vicente Fernández, be investigated as to whether those promotions were, in reality, "a reward for the illegal acts allegedly carried out.


As if that were not enough, the Audience of Seville speaks of another crime, embezzlement for unfair management, which would have been committed by opting in the contest for the least economically advantageous offer, that of Minorbis-Grupo Mexico. Thus, the car recalls that the other applicant company, Emerita, committed an investment of 641.5 million euros, double that of Minobis-Grupo Mexico and that, in addition, the first of the companies added 375 million for the development of the Andalusian industrial fabric, compared to 27 million of the winner of the contest.

But, the Audience abounds, Grupo Mexico should not have been admitted in the second phase of the competition because it did not meet the requirements and neither did Minorbis, given that it accredited neither the means nor the necessary experience. Despite all of the above, the Board awarded the mining rights to Minorbis and the mine was eventually left to Grupo Mexico through a company, Minera Los Frailes, which never opted for the contest and which was created only a few days of acceptance. A company, adds the car, in which Minorbis and Magtel had hardly any participation.

Of all this, the magistrates criticize, the Junta de Andalucía was fully aware, to which it blames "arbitrary" and "intentional" decisions to allow the mine to be handed over to Grupo Mexico within a "preconceived plan".

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