Casado accuses Ayuso of orchestrating a "set-up" against him and demands explanations about the contract
Ayuso acknowledges that her brother took a commission, but says that "it is not illegal"
MadridPablo Casado was silent throughout this Thursday while the PP was split down the middle. The information about alleged corruption and spying on Madrid regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso ripped through a party that has now been mired in a struggle for power for months. And the conflict has continued to escalate. Twenty-four hours after Ayuso accused Casado of trying to destroy her, the party leader has defended himself by accusing the Madrid president of orchestrating a "set-up" against him and his leadership to avoid giving the explanations that the leadership had demanded on the alleged commission that her brother charged for the award of a contract for masks during the first wave of the pandemic. "I am surprised and disappointed. What happened yesterday is something I don't deserve. I have been supporting Ayuso for 17 years and I have no regrets, and I am very satisfied," said Casado in an interview with COPE.
The PP leader has presented himself as a victim of Ayuso. He recalled that in September, when he asked Ayuso for a meeting –which according to Casado was not to discuss the congress of the PP's Madrid regional branch, as Ayuso claimed this Thursday– he asked her to clarify the information that he had received from from sources in "the administration" –he has denied that it came from the Spanish government, despite Ayuso's insistence it was so. According to Casado, he did not receive an answer to his request, nor to the one made later by party's secretary general, Teodoro García Egea. The PP denies spying on Ayuso –although Ángel Carromero, who supposedly hired detectives, has resigned– but it does confirm that the party began an internal investigation which led to a file being opened on Ayuso.
Casado believes the file could be closed this Friday itself if the Madrid president provides all the information requested. "If Ayuso tells me that her brother charged this amount [about €280,000] for this work [the awarding of the contract], we can see if an irregularity or lack of exemplarity has been committed," Casado said. "The question is whether it is understood that on April 1, when 700 people were dying in Spain, you can hire your brother who then makes a €280,000 profit for selling masks", he added. In this sense, Casado has taken for granted that Ayuso's brother received a commission for awarding a contract to Priviet Sportive SL (a company friend of Ayuso's family) and considers that this "is not exemplary". Thus, he has assured that if he were president of Spain "he would not allow" his brother to charge a €280,000 commission to a government he presides.
Ayuso admits her brother took a cut
Ayuso's response has taken a few minutes to arrive. And what she has done is admit that her brother charged a commission for the awarding of the contract for masks, but that "it is not illegal". "Neither illegal, nor not exemplary," she replied to Casado after he had left the COPE studio. Ayuso has assured that "it will never be proven" that she has helped her brother "in anything" since she became the president of Madrid regional government. This Thursday, Ayuso already explained in a public appearance that tax authorities had been informed of the deal.
According to Ayuso, it is the PP who wanted the information to be made public and who got hold of the contract. "I want to know where they got that figure. How come they have it and I don't? I am surprised that they are so certain about the exact amount," she said. In this sense, the president claims that she answered Casado with a message: after talking to her brother, he told her that the contract existed and she told Casado, informing him that there was nothing illegal. Casado's response was, according to Ayuso, to say that everything came from the secretary general, Teodoro García Egea. In fact, the Madrid president is not going against Casado directly –she has said that "he is being deceived"– but she fixes the accusations on Egea and affirms that there is "someone obstinate" in the PP who wants neither her nor Casado to do well.
Whilst the PP leader has summoned her to give explanations, Ayuso has urged the PP to "prove her innocence": "Let them be the ones to prove that Madrid regional government has not lifted a finger to help my brother," she said. In fact, the Madrid president has repeated all the claims that Casado had denied: she reaffirmed that the figures came from the Spanish government, she has accused the PP leaders of constantly dropping hints to journalists about her brother's business to write on the subject and has denied that she wanted to bring forward the Madrid congress in order to cover up the commission.