From left to right and from top to bottom, the neighbors of the block of the street Angostas de los Mancebos 2: Carmen, Piedad, Jesús, José Antonio, Maribel, Antonio, Michael, Roberto, María del Carmen, María Teresa and Aurora.Victor sainz
About 200 families who live in rent, more than 100 elderly and almost twenty nuns of a nursing home were the great victims of the real estate plot of the Church in Madrid, uncovered by EL PAÍS three years ago. These three disposals are part of the sale of a total of 18 buildings owned by foundations supervised by the Archbishopric of Madrid. The operations were carried out between 2019 and 2021 for an amount exceeding 100 million euros. With that capital, the Church intended to buy a plot to build a City of Mercy southwest of Madrid, a kind of mini Vatican with residences for the elderly and several Catholic schools. A chimera. The Vatican learned of this news and sent a lawyer to advise Cardinal Carlos Osoro (head of the Madrid archbishopric) in the face of this major scandal. The envoy from Rome commissioned a law firm in Madrid to reverse all operations in the face of the stalking of justice. All operations are now suspended in the courts. And, three years later, the head of the Court of Instruction Number 28 of Madrid, Jaime Serret, has issued an abbreviated order of 17 pages where he proposes to judge 10 of those involved in this plot. The judge sees indications of continued crime of aggravated fraud, unfair administration and corruption between individuals. Who's who in this plot?
Those affected by the millionaire urban plot of the Church: "They throw us out of our homes"
David Lopez Royo. President of the Episcopal Delegation of Foundations of Madrid from 2016 to 2019. He was born in Zaragoza 66 years ago. As a young man he was linked to the Church. He graduated in Philosophy and graduated in Political Science and Sociology at the Pontifical University of Salamanca. He joined Caritas in the nineties as director of International Cooperation, where he coordinated, for example, the humanitarian aid of Hurricane Mitch. In 2014 he was appointed director of the newspaper El Correo de Andalucía. He had not worked as a journalist in his life. "I had no idea about Seville! His management led to embarrassing front pages," says a former editor.
His brilliant rise in the institutions linked to the Church would come months later. López had met Archbishop Carlos Osoro in Asturias and Galicia, when he worked for Caritas. In March 2016, the Church in Madrid relied for the first time on two lay pillars. One of them was Royo, as delegate of Foundations, and the other, Julio Lage, as auditor of the accounts of the diocese. Royo assured this newspaper that he worked altruistically for the Church. But as this newspaper has now been able to verify, he had a contract with the archbishopric close to 40,000 euros a year. In an interview with the Catholic weekly Alfa y Omega in 2017 he said: "Society demands transparency from us, but Osoro drives it out of conviction." He resigned in 2019 after the publications of EL PAÍS.
Julio Lage. Comptroller of the accounts of the Church from 2016 to 2020. According to his curriculum, he has been part of the executive domes of reference financial institutions such as Santander, La Caixa and Banco Español de Crédito; consultants of the stature of Arthur Andersen; of large business groups as an advisory advisor and institutions such as the I+E Innovation Spain Foundation. Born in Orense, he is a Telecommunications Engineer and holds a PhD in Computer Science from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and a Master's Degree in Knowledge Engineering. Osoro entrusted him in 2016 with supervising the Church's accounts. Royo and Lage knew each other from other previous stages. During his time as auditor of the diocese of Madrid, he worked altruistically. Several priests in Madrid say that inside they called him "the god of money". He resigned from office in the face of these publications.
Manuel Fernández Clemente. He has been the secretary of the three foundations that are being investigated: Fusara, San Celedonio and Molina Padilla. In San Celedonio he entered as secretary in 2012, during the time of the previous cardinal, Antonio María Rouco Varela. His firm, Fernández Clemente Abogados, specializes in urban planning. It boasts of being "multidisciplinary". Clemente was an urban planning lawyer for the Community of Madrid during the time of Esperanza Aguirre.
The lawyer Clemente received a salary of 3,000 euros a month in the three foundations. And a contract as an advisor in one of them close to 30,000 euros a year. Some ecclesiastical sources suggest that he tried to reach an economic agreement with the archbishopric after the sales scandal, but Osoro refused. He has served as secretary in at least six of the 64 foundations.
Antonio Naranjo Fabián. Another of the key men. He was medical director of the San José Foundation. From there he makes the leap to the foundations of the Church. He is present in the three entities investigated as manager and as delegate. As a manager he received a salary of at least 1,500 euros. During the pandemic he was in charge of the management of the San Celedonio Foundation, which managed a residence where more than 100 elderly people lived. During the hardest months of the pandemic, more than 35 died. "He gets along very well with lawyer Clemente," say several employers who have worked with him.
Law Firm Chávarri Abogados. Antonio and Raúl Chávarri, Jesús Merino, José Prado, Daniel Hidalgo Pitado. They all work in this law firm. It is the main law firm with which the archbishopric has worked in the last four years. It defines itself as "a reference office for religious institutions, not only for professional and technical attention, but also for its identity and values." The firm has a foundation in which two of the key names have worked: the delegate of foundations, Royo, and the auditor of the accounts, Lage. According to sources of this office, there have been millionaire commissions in the sales of the properties of the foundations of the Church. The firm itself has acted as an intermediary in all three operations. Only with the sale of the San Celedonio Foundation have been distributed commissions of 1,850,000 euros, according to the documents to which EL PAÍS has now accessed. For the sale of the Fusara foundation about 3,700,000 euros and for the purchase of some land of Metrovacesa in Valdebebas (Madrid) ―plot where the Church itself wanted to build offices with the sale of the three foundations― more than 900,000 euros.
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