Spanish 'middleman' paid £21m in taxpayers' cash to supply PPE was named in anti-corruption investigation in homeland

THE Spanish "middleman" paid £21m in British taxpayers’ cash to source PPE for the NHS was once named in an anti-corruption probe in his homeland.

Gabriel Gonzalez Andersson, 43, netted the huge sum for brokering a £250m deal for gowns, gloves and masks between the UK Government and a US jewellery designer who had no previous experience of producing medical products.

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The contracts were allegedly awarded by British health chiefs without a proper tendering process – and the Government is now being sued by campaign groups here.

The Sun can now also reveal Spanish businessman Andersson was previously named as an intermediary during an investigation into a so-called ‘Chinese mafia’ suspected of money laundering and tax evasion.

There is no suggestion Gonzalez Andersson knew any alleged criminality was taking place and he is not among those set to be tried.

Mr Andersson is named as a businessman who helped introduce clients but is not suspected of committing any offences.

The probe resulted in around 80 arrests in Spain in 2012 – and a criminal trial is upcoming.

He was cited as a regular contact with Malka Maman, one of those arrested in the investigation dubbed Operation Emperor.

Mr Andersson's name features in a judicial ruling published earlier this year.

Maman, a Spaniard of Israeli origin nicknamed La Sobrina or ‘The Niece’ in English, is one of more than 100 people facing trial at Madrid's High Court following a long-running criminal probe.

She has been identified as an alleged second-in-command to a suspected key player called Isaac Cohen – nicknamed El Gordo or ‘The Fat One’ -accused of trying to find rich 'donors' and wealthy 'receivers' as part of a massive tax evasion scheme.

JUDGE'S RULING

Spanish judge Jose Luis Calama, mentions Gonzalez Andersson by name on page 62 of his ruling.

In a document finalised in July regarding the complex network of companies and individuals involved in tax evasion, the judge said: “To carry out this criminal task… different members who led in a co-ordinated fashion the work to recruit ‘donors’ and ‘receivers', as well as other operations of intermediation.

“Among these, we find intermediaries such as Mesod Muyal Pinto, Salvador Yeshua Harari and Gabriel Gonzalez Andersson, who at the same time had their own portfolio of clients.”

Gonzalez Andersson is listed as director or administrator of more than half a dozen Madrid-based companies working in the fields of finance, marketing, PR and sales.

None of the firms, based at different addresses in the Spanish capital, could be reached by phone yesterday.

Those with phone listings had numbers that no longer worked.

No date has yet been set for the trial of the suspects linked to Operation Emperor.

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