“Just to collect the diet”: Koldo's fleeting attendance at the State Ports Governing Council

Koldo García, the former advisor of José Luis Ábalos around whom the alleged plot to collect commissions for the supply of masks in a pandemic revolves, he made his position as a trusted man of the former socialist minister compatible with those of director of Renfe Mercancías and member of the Governing Council of State Ports, although at least with regard to this last position it does not seem that his dedication was too intense. This is clear from what Francisco Toledo, former president of State Ports, declared to the Civil Guard, who stated that during his mandate at the head of this organization (from March 2020 to December 2021), the first to award a contract to Soluciones of Management, for a total of twenty million euros, Koldo only attended one meeting of the Governing Council, a fleeting presence since he left it shortly after starting, since according to what Álvaro Sánchez Manzanares – then Secretary General of State Ports – told him , and so far the only senior official dismissed for the “Koldo case” – had come only “to collect the diet.”

Toledo told the agents of the Castellón Command in his appearance as a witness that Koldo García was appointed by Ábalos to the Governing Council, the body in charge of approving the budget and liquidation of State Ports, as well as the appointment of its general secretary and of its four general directors.

As he explained, Ábalos' advisor attended a Council meeting, “not participating in it.” It was then, he stated, that Sánchez Manzanares introduced him to him as a member, “this being the only meeting he remembers attending.” Although his involvement was minimal, since “shortly after starting the Council he left it.”

The former senior official pointed out that within the “normal functioning” of the Governing Council, “when a person accesses a position he normally introduced himself to the president when he attended the meetings for the first time,” but this did not happen with Ábalos' trusted man. , “Koldo García did not arrive to visit him during the period in which he held the Presidency.”

In the deliveries of the masks

Toledo explained that after Ábalos' dismissal in July 2021, “a few days later he received a letter from the ministry informing him that Koldo García was leaving office, not naming a person to replace him.” Something that seemed “curious” to him because the usual procedure, he said, is that “after a dismissal, a new position is appointed to replace the dismissed one.”

Koldo was involved in the supply of the masks – which brought the “plot”, according to the Civil Guard, profits of more than 16.5 million euros. In fact, the then head of the State Port Contracting Department, Aránzazu de Miguel, assured the agents in her witness statement that Koldo García – whose name she said was familiar to her but she did not know him “in person or in a photograph” “-“he would have gone to one of the deliveries of the masks at the airport,” according to what a colleague told him.

Management Solutions informed Puertos del Estado -according to Francisco Toledo's version- that an advance payment of four million euros was requested from China to proceed with the supply of the eight million masks, so given the impossibility of Administration to advance that money, a letter was signed proving the ability to pay.

“Koldo was very insistent”

Although the decision came from the ministry headed by Ábalos, he explained, it was channeled through State Ports because it had 40 million euros in the Treasury since “it finances itself through the fees it collects” (Transportation later reimbursed that amount).

Especially revealing about the modus operandi of how Soluciones de Gestión (a company without turnover in 2019 that went on to invoice more than 53 million euros thanks to this succession of contracts from the ministries of Transport, Interior and Health and the Balearic governments) was chosen. and Canario) is the statement of the former president of ADIF. Isabel Pardo de Vera denied that she received any order to carry out this award, but she did refer to the “pressure” from José Luis Ábalos and his Cabinet “for said award to be carried out as quickly as possible” so that the availability of masks will accelerate.

And as for Koldo, he said he did not know if he intervened in the hiring, although he made it clear that “on this issue and on many others Koldo was very insistent,” which is why he contacted her “on numerous occasions, always on behalf of the Minister of Transportation.” , for various issues”.

Pardo de Vera said that he believes that they appointed Koldo as a Renfe advisor “because the Cabinet salary was low and this was a way to increase it.” He was, he specified, “the person closest to Ábalos or the person he trusted” and he traveled regularly with the minister. He was, as another senior ADIF official, the director of Human Resources Martín Navarro, assured the Civil Guard, “the person who had to be spoken to to access the minister.”