Spanish Congress speaker denies involvement in pandemic commissions scandal

Francina Armengol was Balearic Islands president at time of alleged illegal purchase of masks

Spanish Congress speaker Francina Armengol
Spanish Congress speaker Francina Armengol / Redacció
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March 5, 2024 12:08 PM

March 5, 2024 12:27 PM

Since the outbreak of the Koldo case, a scandal involving alleged illegal commissions in the procurement of face masks during the pandemic, the Spanish Congress speaker Francina Armengol has come under scrutiny. 

During her term as President of the Balearic Islands from 2015 to 2023, her government purchased a batch of 1.5 million masks in 2020 for €3.7 million from the company Soluciones de Gestión, which is currently under investigation in connection with the Koldo case. 

Following the revelation, both the conservative People's Party and the far-right Vox have called for her resignation, a demand that Armengol firmly rejected today during a press conference in which she defended the legality of the mask purchases.

"I will not allow them to tarnish my name or associate my name, my administration and that of my government with anything resembling corruption," she declared. 

Armengol has claimed that the masks bought by the Balearic government in connection with the Koldo scandal were "bought legally, based on the decision of health experts", and that "no one" pressured her or her government to make these purchases.

"Neither I nor anyone from my government is being investigated or mentioned in the summary. Therefore, I call on the PP to take responsibility and face up to the situation, because in politics not everything is allowed", she added.

Armengol defended her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, arguing that the Balearic Islands bought €40 million worth of medical supplies and as a result had one of the "lowest mortality rates" in Spain.

Former Socialist minister suspended from party

Last week, former minister José Luis Ábalos was suspended from the Socialist Party after refusing to resign as an MP in the wake of the Koldo case. 

The judge is investigating Koldo García, former advisor to Ábalos, and six others for participation in a criminal organization, money laundering, bribery, and influence peddling in the purchase of medical supplies during the pandemic.  

In 2020, the company under investigation, Soluciones de Gestión, secured eight public contracts for the supply of emergency health products through non-advertised negotiated procedures, with a total value of approximately €54 million. The company had zero sales before securing these contracts.