EU, Spanish prosecutors at odds over Madrid leader fraud probe

Madrid President Isabel Díaz Ayuso, an influential but divisive figure in Spain’s conservative Popular Party, came under scrutiny following reports that her brother was paid a commission worth over €50,500 for mediating a PPE deal from China via a Spanish company in a contract worth €1.5 million.  [Shutterstock/Atstock Productions]

Investigations into corruption allegations related to a facemask deal made by Madrid’s regional government during the early stages of the pandemic despite Spanish prosecutors insisting that the case was a national matter will continue, the European prosecutor’s office (EPPO) said on Wednesday.

Madrid President Isabel Díaz Ayuso, an influential but divisive figure in Spain’s conservative Popular Party, came under scrutiny following reports that her brother was paid a commission worth over €50,500 for mediating a PPE deal from China via a Spanish company in a contract worth €1.5 million.

As well as the political fallout resulting from the case – triggering an internal squabble and a party leadership change at a national level – the case has put European and Spanish prosecutors at odds.

Spain’s attorney general decided that the country’s anti-corruption structures should continue its investigation into the case rather than refer it to a European level, as the EPPO had requested.

But the EPPO said in a statement Wednesday that the decision was not in “line with EU law” and had ignored the superiority of the EU office over the Spanish one.

“The European Chief Prosecutor would like to express her concern about the procedure that led to the decision of the Fiscal General del Estado,” the EPPO said in a statement.

“The decision has been taken without hearing both parties to the conflict of competence.”

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