Round two of the PP power struggle which exploded on Thursday began with a radio appearance and a battle of figures: this morning, PP president Pablo Casado told the COPE radio station that the "commission" charged by Madrid regional leader Isabel Díaz Ayuso's brother for a contract to buy face masks during the first wave of coronavirus, awarded by Ayuso's regional administration, added up to 286,000 euros. "It is incomprehensible that when thousands of people are dying, you take the opportunity to hire your brother," attacked Casado. Called upon to respond, the Madrid leader said that she was not familiar with the figure but that everything had been legal. A couple of hours later, however, she issued a statement stating that Tomás Díaz Ayuso had received a bill of 55,850 euros plus VAT in "remuneration" for the "management undertaken". That's five times less than Casado's figure. In no way, specifies the text, can it be considered a "commission for intermediation".
The statement from the Madrid regional leader began by denouncing that it was "degrading" that she had to clarify her brother's business relations with a company "due to suspicions based on information whose origin has not been explained by anyone". This was her response to Pablo Casado's first strike this morning, after the simmering rivalry between the two PP leadership rivals burst into open conflict on Thursday after the emergence of corruption accusations against Ayuso. After making his claim, Casado had called on the Madrid leader for an immediate response - and Ayuso gave one, saying that it was necessary to respond because "the honour of the government of the Community of Madrid and my personnel is being questioned by the national leadership of my party."
Thus, according to the statement, Tomás Díaz Ayuso sent four invoices during 2020 to the company Priviet Sportive. The bill in question, dated June 30th of that year, was "for management relating to the purchase of masks in China, sold to the Community of Madrid for five euros each, when prices at that time reached 10.50 euros". And the details set out that several companies were selling masks at higher prices: Biogen at €10.50, Palex at €6.50, Lost Simetry at €6.00, Helianthus at €5.95 and Barna at €5.30.
This invoice is for an amount of 55,850 euros plus VAT and, the statement continues, "it is not a commission for obtaining the contract from the administration, but rather the payment for the steps taken to obtain the material in China and have it transferred to Madrid, which is different". And the text reiterates: "It's remuneration for his work, not a commission for intermediation." According to the Community of Madrid, the name of Tomás Díaz Ayuso does not appear on the contract.
The Madrid regional president gives no account of the other bills because they have nothing to do with the Community of Madrid "and my brother has a right to his privacy". Having explained all this, Isabel Díaz Ayuso hopes that "no one will doubt my honour nor my exemplary conduct". She once again asserts that she never used any "influence" in the decision to buy masks from this company and that, in fact, it was Pablo Casado who informed her. The letter concludes by stating that the report affirming that she had "no duty to abstain" on this contract will be passed to the secretary of the PP's governing council.
After Thursday's resignation of Ángel Carromero, a close aide to Madrid mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida, party president Pablo Casado and secretary general Teodoro García Egea, this Friday another PP office holder has announced his departure: the current head of communication on the party's social networks, Ismael Sirio López, made public on Twitter his departure from the post. He says he told the national leadership of this decision several weeks ago, but added that the party's national leadership agreed to carry it out yesterday, the same day that the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, declared war on the PP executive.