Businessman investigated in fire brigade case already convicted in similar case

A judge sentenced Iturri's manager to 6 months imprisonment for having paid €120,000 to a former Balearic government official as an adviser

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Firefighters vehicles of the Generalitat de Catalunya, in an archive image

BarcelonaThe case of alleged irregular tendering at the Fire Department is not the first judicial proceedings for corruption faced by the Sevillian company Iturri, already convicted in a case of commissions in exchange for awards from the City Council of Telde (Canary Islands) and also investigated in another case of alleged corruption in Palma ten years ago. Nor is it the first time in court for the current manager of Iturri in Catalonia, who was already convicted in this case in Palma. According to a sentence to which ARA has had access, he took six months in prison for having paid €120,300 to former head of Emergencies of Jaume Matas's Balearic government, Joan Pol, for some consultancy work.

The manager of Iturri, E.J.D., was investigated for irregularities in the awarding of the project to build the fire station of Palma, within the so-called Bomsai case. Iturri was one of the companies subcontracted by the temporary joint venture awarded the project. In spite of everything, the Balearic government's former head of Emergencies, Joan Pol, charged €120,300 to advise Iturri, which as a civil servant he was expressly prohibited to do by law. To disguise this work, Iturri's manager – who is also the company's delegate in the Islands – admitted that he had issued three false invoices to a company owned by Pol, pretending that they were for works.

This is one of the few derivatives of the Bomsai case that came to trial, since the main part of the investigation into alleged commissions in exchange for awards was eventually shelved. In 2018 Pol admitted to having charged for advising Iturri despite being prohibited from doing so as a civil servant, and agreed to pay a fine of €3,600 for a crime of negotiations prohibited to a civil servant. The judge also sentenced Iturri's manager in Catalonia to six months in prison and a fine of €3,600 euros for providing false documents.

In the sentence, the judge assures that Pol "contacted" Iturri's manager now also under investigation in the Fire Brigade case to "provide him with technical information and advice to be applied in the construction of Palma fire station, for which Iturri had been subcontracted through the company that was awarded the contract". As "remuneration for services rendered", Pol received €120,300 that he collected through three false invoices that "allegedly" referred to some work that his company supposedly did on Iturri's offices in Montcada i Reixac and that were never carried out

Suspicions of commissions

As the investigation for the alleged bribery scheme of the Bomsai case was shelved, the Prosecutor's Office ended up ruling out that Iturri's payment to Pol was an illegal commission to thank him for the awarding of a project. But Palma's High Court was not so sure. In a resolution during the processing of the case consulted by this newspaper, the magistrate Diego Jesús Gómez-Reino Delgado assures that it cannot be "ruled out that these payments for consulting services could be related to the administrative contracting" that Pol was processing, taking into account that the payment occurred just when the fire station project was awarded.

"If the reality of a contracting is simulated, it is because there is an attempt to hide something unconfessable," the magistrate concludes – who is the president of Palma High Court – in reference to the false invoices for €120,000 from Iturri that Pol charged.

To reach this conclusion, the judge takes into account the existence of "previous communications" between Pol, Iturri's manager and one of the companies awarded the project of the fire station precisely during the processing of the tender to award it and the fact that both Pol and Iturri's manager admitted to having falsified the invoices to cover up the payment of work as a consultant. But the prosecution dismissed charges against Pol and Iturri's manager for the crimes of bribery and prevarication and the case was only tried – and convicted – for the other two crimes.