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Spain Investigates 10,700 Students in Training Program Fraud

Source: El Pais - Sat 15th Mar 2014
Spain Investigates 10,700 Students in Training Program Fraud

Almost 10,700 people who were signed up for bogus training courses funded by the Madrid regional government never attended any of the sessions, investigators have concluded.

So far 13 people have been arrested in the alleged conspiracy, including José Luis Aneri, who acted as a mediator between the regional government and the companies allegedly set up to give the courses to workers from different sectors.

Investigators took a random sample of the list of names contained in three files that were confiscated with other documents from the companies. The courses were supposed to be given to workers of Ucotrans, the federation of transportation professionals, but police found that none of the 10,671 people actually attended any of the sessions.

The alleged conspirators set up four companies to defraud the regional and central governments of at least €8.9 million in subsidies, according to Labor Ministry officials.

The reported ringleaders were Alfonso Tezanos, the former president of the Madrid employers' association, CEIM, and ex-head of the Chamber of Commerce Training Committee Fedecam, and his partner Víctor Porta, who were both arrested this week. They were released on Thursday with charges pending against them.

Aneri, who managed the Sinergia Group, has been held in preventive custody since his arrest on March 1.

Two weeks ago, Tezanos stepped down from Fedecam after his name surfaced in the inquiry.

The police's UDEF economic crimes squad found duplications of names of students in the Ucotrans files dating back to 2010. The entire investigation got underway in December 2012 when the State Public Employees Service (Sepe) filed a complaint.

Tezanos' wife and brother-in-law, as well as Ucotrans secretary Juan José Panizo, were also arrested.

In 2010, Ucotrans transferred €2.1 millon to Sinergia Group and €954,278 to other businesses involved in the conspiracy – Navukasoft, Servicios Reunidos de Publicaciones, Pinturas y Tarimas Vicmar and Alianza Irena España – that police believed were used to launder money at the same branch of Caja Madrid bank.

The investigation continues.

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