28 December 2018 – Voz Pópuli
The Court of Auditors has sentenced the former mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella (pictured below) and six high-ranking officials of her municipal Government to pay €22.5 million for the sale of 1,860 publicly owned flats to two companies owned by Blackstone, considered to be a vulture fund, for a price below that stipulated by the market in 2013. Another senior official, Fermín Osle, has been sentenced to pay more than €3 million for his role as the “accountant directly responsible” for the operation.
The ruling, revealed by Cadena Ser, concludes that the eight people now condemned “engaged in serious negligence” by not preventing “damage to public property” by selling the homes for €128.5 million when, according to the calculations of the Court of Auditors, Botella’s Executive could have received proceeds of more than €151 million.
The sentence is based on a claim filed a year ago by the current Government of the Spanish capital, led by Manuela Carmena, through the Municipal Housing and Land Company (EMVS). The ruling determines that the operations carried out by the Municipal Housing Company that reported into the Government “led to an unjustified impairment of public property”, which they estimate amounted to €23 million.
The other condemned officials are Enrique Núñez Guijarro, Diego Sanjuanbenito, Paz González García, Dolores Navarro, Pedro Corral and Concepción Dancausa, former delegate of the Government of Madrid.
They will appeal the sentence
The former mayor and her then municipal government team are going to appeal the sentence, according to sources, after hearing the content of the ruling, since “they do not agree with it”. They also noted that the Prosecutor of the court has already requested the dismissal of this claim “for not having any accounting responsibility”.
In the same way, they have indicated that the previous Governing Board of the Town Hall of Madrid “did not intervene directly or indirectly in the operation to sell the homes” to which the decision by the Court of Auditors refers. “Only, and in its capacity as the General Shareholders’ Meeting of the aforementioned company, did they ratify the feasibility plan that the EMVS’s Board of Directors had already approved”, they highlighted.
Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Carlos Frías)
Translation: Carmel Drake