Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain), April 17. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office has decided to resume the investigation into a corruption case in Spain which affects the GAR-SI Sahel contracts, a program of collaboration with the security forces of several African countries which was administered by a Spanish public foundation, but financed with EU funds.

As the High Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC) reported on Monday, the judge investigating the conspiracy, known as the “Mediator case”, has accepted that this part of the investigation falls to the responsibility of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, because it is an alleged improper use of Community funds and has made available to them all the procedures it has carried out in respect of these contracts.

In this case, a bribery scheme is being investigated that allegedly instructed commissions of businessmen to favor them in public contracts and grant aid or avoid inspections and disciplinary proceedings. .

The investigating judge and the prosecution place at the head of the plot the former deputy of the Canarian socialist in Congress Juan Bernardo Fuentes Curbelo, the former director general of livestock of the regional government of the Canary Islands Taishet Fuentes (nephew of the former) and retired Civil Guard general Francisco Espinosa Navas, the only one of the twelve defendants who is in provisional prison.

In the decision made public today, the judge also leaves Espinosa Navas in the hands of the EU prosecutor, who led until 2021 the European project aimed at helping Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger , Senegal and Chad to improve security on their territory. with the creation of teams inspired by the Rapid Action Groups (GAR) of the Civil Guard.

The TSJC specifies that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office will not only become the body responsible for examining the use of these funds from now on, but also the one which will have to decide whether General Espinosa remains in pre-trial detention or is released.

The actions sent to the Community Office of the Public Ministry also refer to the participation of businessman José Santiago Suárez Esteve, who received three contracts for the supply of drones for the GAR-SI Sahel program in Mali, Niger and Mauritania and a quarter of equipment for CT Public Spaces (another European security program in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal).

GAR-SI Sahel (French acronym for Rapid Action Groups – Surveillance and Response to the Sahel) is known as a European Commission project for security cooperation with several African countries, which in Spain is administered by the International Foundation and for Latin America from Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP).

This Spanish public foundation is managed by a board of directors currently headed by the first vice-president of the government, Nadia Calviño, who has ordered an investigation into the use of funds by General Espinosa, after learning that the business service internal Guardia Civil recounted in the summary of the Mediator case an alleged favorable treatment of certain businessmen in exchange for bribes.

The judge in charge of the case asked him in particular for the details of four contracts for a total amount of 2,352,278 euros, dating from 2020 and 2021 and having in common to respond to the supply of equipment for security projects in Africa (three for the GAR -SI Sahel project and one for the CT Espaces Publics project).

The question arises for them four to know if they were rigged by General Espinosa.

This case caused a political scandal in Spain, due to the involvement of the former socialist deputy, forced by this party to resign from his seat a few hours after learning that he was the subject of an investigation. EFE


Categorized in: