A Spanish businessman received £21 million for securing protective equipment to fulfill two U.K. government contracts for the NHS, the BBC reported citing papers filed in a U.S. court.
Michael Saiger, a Florida-based jewelry designer, set up a personal protective equipment (PPE) business as the coronavirus pandemic was surging around the world in March. Saiger hired Gabriel Gonzalez Andersson to help with “procurement, logistics, due diligence, product sourcing and quality control” of the equipment, the BBC reported.
Recent Miami court documents reveal that Andersson had done “very well under this arrangement,” and was set to receive a further $20 million in negotiation fees after landing three more contracts for the NHS in June.
However, the documents claim that after the new contracts had been signed by Saiger’s company, Andersson stopped working for them. It is not clear whether negotiation fees for the second batch of deals were paid to the Spanish middleman, according to the BBC.
Saiger LLC claims this resulted in interruptions that led to delayed PPE deliveries to NHS frontline workers, as they were left “scrambling” to meet the demand.
Saiger LLC told the BBC: “At a time when the NHS was in need of high-quality PPE that met the required safety standards, we delivered for Britain, on time and at value. At no time have we ever used any ‘middlemen.’ We have few full-time staff so for large projects we bring in short-term contractors for additional expertise and capacity, allowing us to deliver what is needed.”
The Good Law Project is also bringing legal action relating to coronavirus contracts in the U.K. courts, with director Jolyon Maugham warning of a growing “transparency gap” regarding U.K. government outsourcing.
Good Law has since tweeted “We and @EveryDoctorUK consider the award of this contract to be unlawful. If the answers from government aren’t good enough, and we expect they won’t be, we will issue proceedings.”
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