Something fishy in La Moncloa: Pedro Sánchez’s wife recommended two companies in a public tender for a €7-million contract

SanchezPedro Sánchez

And one of the recommended shareholders is the creator of the master’s degree that the president’s wife now directs. Incredible but true: Begoña Gómez signed a letter to help two private companies to get a Government award in 2020, during the pandemic. The wife of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, expressed her support for a Temporary Joint Venture (UTE) that submitted a €7.7-million tender from the Ministry of Economy and ended up winning the contract.

One of the main shareholders of this UTE, according to El Confidencial, was the businessman and consultant Carlos Barrabés, who was in charge of putting Begoña Gómez in contact with Air Europa in 2019 and, later, of creating the Master in Competitive Social Transformation at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), which is currently directed by Sánchez’s wife.

The Ministry of Economy published the tender on 8 June 2020, during the first state of alarm, through its State Procurement Platform. The body that processed it was, also under the portfolio of the then minister Nadia Calviño. The objective of the process was to select the provider of a “training service for youth employment in the digital economy”. The contract, in turn, was financed with money from the European Social Fund and amounted to €24 million.

The agency divided the tender into six lots, which a multitude of companies tried to win. Innova Next SLU, Barrabés’ consultancy, teamed up with The Valley, a business school, and submitted bids for lots one and three. These had a base bidding budget of €4,000,344.6 and €3,778,581.85, respectively.

The Barrabés-The Valley joint venture had 17 rivals for lot one and another 11 for lot three. Among them were the Japanese Everis (NTT Data), the American DXC Technology and the Swiss Adecco, as well as academies and companies specialised in job placement and training for the unemployed.

The announcement of the first call, in June 2020, contained an error that made it necessary to call it again in November of the same year and, therefore, restart the process. However, Barrabés and The Valley already had a document that gave an advantage to their alliance. The joint venture submitted to the contracting tables for lots one and three a letter from Begoña Gómez in which she openly supported their offer; what is more, Gómez committed herself to collaborate in the execution of the contract that was being tendered by a government over which her husband had presided for two years.

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