The head of the Court of Instruction number 15 of Madrid has ordered to suspend the delivery of 34 of the 53 million euros that are part of the Government’s rescue to the airline Plus Ultra and that were due to be paid on July 28, and has given a deadline five days for the company to prove that it really needs this loan to pay suppliers and ensure its viability.
The judge points out that “the disbursement of the amount of 34 million euros, as a participatory loan scheduled for July 28, within a viability plan for the Plus Ultra company, must be justified, taking into account the existence of this procedure ”Judicial.
The head of court number 15 in Madrid refers to the opening of proceedings last April against the former acting president of the Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI), Bartolomé Lora, and the body’s board of directors (15 high positions in total) after a complaint by Manos Limpias for alleged embezzlement in the rescue of Plus Ultra.
The instructor now understands that continuing with this injection of money within the expected period, risking “an unjustified delivery” would mean “a significant loss of assets without the possibility of restoration to a previous situation.”
On March 9, the Council of Ministers approved the injection of 53 million euros into Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas from the € 10 billion fund managed by the State Industrial Participation Company (SEPI) to keep it afloat. In the case of the airline, the aid consists of 34 million in participative loans and 19 million in an ordinary loan that has already been disbursed, with seven years for its repayment.
The judge’s decision comes after the request for precautionary measures in a procedure in which the Popular Party, Vox and the Clean Hands union are present.
Since the approval of this aid, opposition groups have criticized it, considering that the company is not strategic (it has a minimum market share) or solvent, requirements established to access the SEPI fund, in addition to provoking a multitude of criticism for the company’s alleged connections with the leaders of the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela.
The Solvency Support Fund announced on July 14 the payment of the second installment to the court due to an “elementary principle of prudence” before the opening of this judicial investigation. However, the airline had already transferred to the Fund the need to receive this help to maintain activity, according to SEPI sources.
Likewise, due to this “caution in the management of the public resources” investigated, the Fund requested reports from Deloitte, legal advisor that allowed the help of Plus Ultra, and the State Attorney. In both cases, the reports were favorable to the disbursement and the State Attorney warned that, if it did not occur, the contractual obligation contracted with the airline would be violated. However, the State Attorney suggested informing the court before making the disbursement of the pending amount to allow time for restrictive measures to be adopted, the same sources report.
The Fund, in order to act “with maximum transparency and collaborate with justice”, also sent the court a report prepared by this body for the Court of Auditors after Citizens’ complaint about the temporary public aid to Plus Ultra. This report detailed the process followed to hire legal and financial advisers and choose the most advantageous economic offer among top-level professional firms.