The Iranian intermediary Shahpari Azzany Zanganeh, former wife of the arms dealer Adnan Kashoggi and to which Juan Carlos I He introduced Riyadh as his “trusted person”, shielded his commission on the desert AVE. In the contract he signed with the Spanish companies of the consortium, Zanganeh guaranteed 2% of the income from the work regardless of whether there were delays or penalties for problems in the construction of the infrastructure. This is one of the documents that the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office investigated. before raising the case to the Supreme Court, after detecting evidence of crime affecting the king emeritus.
Zanganeh is a key person on the AVE to Mecca. In a statement released to the media two years ago, when his name began to proliferate in the press, he introduced himself as a ‘project developer’ from the start. [del proyecto], in 2004. “So, he distanced himself from don Juan Carlos. “The suggestion that I have had an economic or financial relationship with Juan Carlos I of Spain in relation to the AVE it is absolutely false. There has never been any economic or financial relationship with him or with any entity related to him, “he said then.
However, in March 2006, the Iranian businesswoman He took a letter from King Juan Carlos to Prince Bin Abdul Aziz to Riyadh, by then Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia, in which the now King Emeritus “commissioned” him to “be able to carry out procedures before him, and whom he considered a trusted person”, according to the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office in the letters rogatory that he has sent to the Geneva Prosecutor’s Office. Only three weeks later, Zanganeh returned to Riyadh, but on that occasion she was already accompanied by Juan Carlos I; the then lover of the monarch, Corinna Larsen, and the representatives of several Spanish companies.
As stated in the documentation to which this newspaper has had access, the representative designated by the father of Philip VI signed on May 18, 2011 a first consulting contract with Spanish private equity companies that were part of the consortium of AVE to Mecca: Cobra, Consultrans, Copasa, Dimetronic, Imathia, Inabensa, Indra, OHL and Talgo. Zanganeh’s consultancy, Epic Arabia Project Development, had to be in charge, according to the agreement, of the “study and analysis of risks and identification and analysis of subcontractors, suppliers and consultants” during the tender and in the execution works of “consultancy regarding contracting, resolution of discrepancies with the client, subcontractors and suppliers, collaboration and assistance in collection management “.
Two addenda to the contract
The contract was added twice. On October 16, 2011, just two weeks before the Spanish offer was imposed on the French one with a price of 6,736 million euros, Zanganeh and the national companies modified the initial agreement stipulating in writing that the Iranian lobbyist would charge a commission of 95.78 million euros, according to the Anticorruption Prosecutor.
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In November 2012, with the Spanish consortium as the winner, the contract underwent a new reform. In this second addendum, held by this newspaper, new details were set on the amount that Zanganeh would receive. The intermediary managed to make her commission armored against the vicissitudes of the work and introduced new clauses that substantially increased the amount she could receive. He secured the ‘fixed fee of 66,583,530 euros plus 156 million Arab reals that, in total, added 95.78 million euros to the change of the time. But Zanganeh sneaked another 2% on the income that Spanish companies could receive from the management of the railway line during the years following its execution.
The contract established a first payment to the consultant of 10 million euros in the 25 days following the signing of the annex. From then on, the intermediary would receive 2% of the consortium’s income as Arabia was paying the more than 6,000 million of the award. Up to 47,152,942 million euros and 125 million Saudi reais (about 30 million euros at the current exchange rate) were guaranteed through this channel. The rest of the money, 9.4 million euros and 30.9 million reais (seven million euros), had to be paid by the Spanish construction and engineering companies in the year and a half after the last investments. To this amount had to be added 2% of what was agreed by the companies and the Government of Arabia according to the years of operation and maintenance that the consortium finally had.
Zanganeh took no risks
The parties made it clear that what was agreed was never a variable. The second annex, which was finally applicable and had not been disclosed until now, established that the eventual penalties from the client to the consortium “will in no case imply a reduction in the commission agreed by the consultant [Zanganeh]”Contrary to what happens in Spain, where public works suffer modifications that raise prices (Development paid 1 billion a year in modified), Riyadh launched a contest with a closed price and penalties in case of delay. The risk of an unprecedented work, in an environment as hostile as the Arabian desert, was borne by the Spanish construction companies and, especially, during the years of operation and maintenance, led by public companies such as Renfe and Adif. The pact with Zanganeh lists that neither “the poor quality of the contractor’s work or any other penalty” affected him.
Zanganeh ensured that he would receive monthly information on government payments from Arabia to Spanish companies and about possible penalties. If Spanish companies wanted to count on their services to build the Hajj terminal, at Jeddah airport, they also had to pay 2% of the total of that other part of the project. All payments had to be made in a bank account in Arabia and the pact made it clear that if Spain applied any withholding, the companies would increase the amount to be received so that this extra cost would not be borne by Zanganeh.
Arbitration for defaults
The contract expressly mentions the nine private equity companies that were awarded the infrastructure, and is signed by representatives of five of them. Specifically, there are the headings of a representative of Cobra, a subsidiary of ACS; of the CEO of Consultrans, the former Socialist Minister of Public Works with Felipe González Julián García Valverde, and of managers of Copasa, Imathia and Inabensa. The rest of the companies also ended up stamping their signature.
Payments to Zanganeh began in 2013 and continued until June 2018. At that time, Spanish companies stopped paying after a recording by Commissioner Villarejo was released in which the ex-lover of Juan Carlos I, Corinna Larsen, “implicated Zanganeh in the payment of illegal commissions” and affirmed that the monarch had also tried to take another percentage. The Iranian lobbyist has raised an arbitration in the Paris Court to claim the full collection of this commission while Justice investigates it. Complaint that, of the 95.7 million euros agreed with the consortium, only about 45 million have entered.