Las Palmas De Gran Canaria (EFE).- The head of accounting for the Burmen company, Airam del Pino Martel, has denied that his role in the company was that of an executive who made decisions and has stated that he was following orders from the Burman family Mentado and the financial director, Juan Alberto González.
His function, he said, was rather to “spend the day on the ship with the fire extinguisher in hand” to save the company’s accounting.
This was expressed this Thursday by Martel during his statement on the second and last day of the trial against the creators of the Lenita and XTG brands, Lenita Burman and Luis Mentado, and against his daughter Nicole, from the Maldito Sweet brand, for alleged fraud. to Social Security of 580,994 euros and a possible crime of seizure of assets, although the Public Prosecutor has retracted this last charge in today’s session based on jurisprudence of the Supreme Court issued last March.
The private prosecution filed by the Social Security Treasury charges Airam del Pino Martel with crimes against this entity and punishable insolvency and gives him a key role in directing the business network, facts that the Prosecutor’s Office does not appreciate.
The private prosecution maintains that del Pino Martel was a director of the company and responsible because, in addition to acting as joint attorney, he sent an email ordering the transfer of employees from Burmen, the company run by Lenita Burman and Luis Mentado, to the company that took on the debts, Beach Concept, owned by his daughter Nicole.
Regarding this transfer, Martel has asserted that it is a decision resulting from a physical meeting and that it is not he who ordered it “motu proprio” by email because “he had not been in the company for more than three months” and a decision of that caliber corresponded to the rest of the defendants.
Regarding the reasons for the creation of Beach Concept, which absorbed Burmen’s debts and its client portfolio, and which the Prosecutor’s Office attributes to a desire by the family to continue evading payments to Social Security and suppliers, Martel has affirmed that It owes as much to the arrival of Nicole Mentado in the Canary Islands after completing her studies as to Burmen’s problems with the production.
“The supplier that manufactured for Lenita and XTG in China generated a very significant debt that could not be assumed and the brands had no guarantee that the merchandise could be supplied,” said the accountant, who pointed out that the decision to start producing in the Canary Islands responded to the company’s need to continue selling and generate income.
Asked about his role in the company, in which he affirms that he received a little more than 1,500 euros a month in payroll, he has indicated that he was originally hired in Burmen to update the accounting.
“They changed their management program and reached December with the May accounts, without even a balance sheet. There was never money, when I joined they already had serious difficulties. All the measures arrived late”, said Airam del Pino Martel.
He has also admitted that in the warehouse where the companies were located there was no distinction between them and that it is possible that machines belonging to one company were used to manufacture products for another because “those machines belonged to the family and were not perfectly identified and inventoried.” ”.
Regarding whether Luis Mentado and Lenita Burman participated in the new company, Martel has indicated that they continued to have their offices in the warehouse and that they made designs for their daughter, at the same time that he has said that he does not know if Beach Concept paid for those designs and has asserted that for what there was a payment was for the client portfolio that was “compensated by discounting invoices that they owed” for a value of 150,000 euros.
Martel has concluded after pointing out that Burmen reached 2012 without anticipating the decline in sales and planning only growth scenarios, so they lacked defense mechanisms.
For her part, Nicole Mentado has defended that her parents had no relationship with Beach Concept except for the specific design of some garments and the “advice” that, as relatives, they could give her.
Asked how she managed to start a company at her age, she stated that she did it with savings and 6,000 euros from an award for entrepreneurs, and taking advantage of the machinery and experience of the uniform factory that belonged to her grandfather, and she has defended that it was “never” supplied “mostly” from Burmen’s machinery or production capital.
He has also defended that it was Airam del Pino Martel who made the accounting decisions and explained that if it was decided to hire the Burmen workers, respecting their seniority, it was because they did not want to have to “start from scratch” with new employees.
“The easiest and most consistent thing was to take people who already had training,” said Nicole Mentado, who insisted that she was the one who designed the products and shop windows of the Beach Concept brands except for the XTG and Lenita designs, that her parents continued to make them, although she made and made them.
He has also defended that he always paid Social Security contributions “until my parents’ debt was transferred to me, that I became bald.”
Regarding the non-payment of installments, Mentado has insisted that the debt was too large for such a small company and has said that “it was left bare” and without a way to face the payment.
During the final conclusions, the Prosecutor’s Office has maintained for each of the defendants the fine of 2.32 million euros while the defenses have requested, in addition to the acquittal, that the mitigating factor of undue delay be taken into account.
For the Public Prosecutor during the trial, the crime against Social Security has been “amply proven” and has considered that the “intent” is observable by creating a succession of companies that, in his opinion, had the sole objective of “hiding, distracting and set aside assets and positive returns from the possibilities of Social Security collection”.
“This fraudulent model is common. An entity that carries out a commercial activity incurs repeated debts and instead of facing reality decides to do a somersault forward by closing one company and opening another with the same resources and workers, in the same premises and only with a different legal entity. ”, he summarized.
For Mentado and Burman’s defense attorney, not paying Social Security contributions “does not in any way imply defrauding” and he has stated that the defendants had all their employees discharged, something that, in his opinion, shows that they did not there was a will to hide the quotas or declare them in a tortious way.
In this the defense of Nicole Mentado agrees, who has stressed that “default is not evading” and that “tricks” were not articulated to avoid paying Social Security.
Martel’s defense has adhered to the Prosecutor’s brief and has insisted that his client was never a director of Burmen but an accounting employee in charge of the financial director. EFE