A GUARDIA Civil department is under investigation for allegedly colluding with a ‘cartel’ of suppliers in a €180 million corruption scheme.
Some six officers are accused of dishing out cosy contracts to dozens of companies in return for private school fees, hunting trips and VIP football tickets.
In the scheme that stretches back 24 years, they illegally contracted 26 companies to supply kit including uniforms, boots, bulletproof vests and helmets.
A court has heard how six officers at the Guardia Civil Supply Service (Sabas) even exchanged mobile phones and game consoles as ‘bribes’ in return for contracts.
One of the officers even had his son’s private school tuition fees paid for as a sweetener for the steady stream of orders, according to an in-depth investigation by ABC.
The gravy train began when Alberto Jose Martín became the head of Sabas’ Technical Section in 2000 and continued under Colonel Juan Antonio Maroto from 2015.
The officers felt so little threat from outsiders they even kept detailed records of what had been exchanged.
Colonel Maroto also ran a laundry business which showed regular entries of cash deliveries.
One of the company salesmen, who worked closely with the police, had a log of perks naming the police officers involved.
Commissions paid ranged from 3% to 8%, with many unwitting law-abiding companies failing to win rigged tenders.
In one case, the team claimed to have an open and transparent bidding process for a ‘pallet-wrapping machine’, inviting two companies to submit tenders.
However, one of them had already installed the machine in the Sabas office.
They became under investigation some years back when an insider tipped off the Guardia Civil’s Internal Affairs.
The officers face a litany of charges that include bribery, embezzlement, fraud, abuse of power, and money laundering, as well as membership of a criminal organisation.
The case continues at Madrid Court Number 50.