The Council of Tenerife It has been the object of four computer scams, the so-called phishing, in as many dependent companies for a global value of 818,331 euros between 2020 and 2022. This was explained in yesterday’s plenary session by President Pedro Martín during an appearance requested by the Popular Party. In a lengthy explanation, Martín admitted what happened as “something serious” although it only occurred in four of the 69 entities that are under the insular umbrella. He glossed what they are, the amount of what was stolen and the process that has been followed from the moment the frauds that are investigated by the Police were detected.
The first attack, of which the Island Corporation receives between 100,000 and 180,000 each week, according to the data provided, occurred in Metrotenerife, a dependent entity, on March 25, 2020 for a value of 97,526 euros. Titsa followed, with the same condition as Metrotenerife, in July-August 2022 with 194,634 euros stolen. Then the victim would be Balten, a public business entity, in August-September 2022, with 226,100 euros defrauded. Finally, the autonomous body IASS, between September and early November of last year, with a loss value of 300,071 euros.
In all cases, Martín stated that things have been done “correctly” with the opening of information files, except in one case (Balten) where he was disciplinary because “the circumstances were different.” Without pointing to anyone and within the administrative legal legislation
In Metropolitano de Tenerife, the one who was then its manager, Andrés Muñoz –currently of the Cuna del Alma project in the Puertito de Adeje– denounced what happened a year later, four months before his departure from the company. The opposition questioned that a file was not opened, but the president assured that “it was not logical to file someone who was leaving.” He secured expert evidence and a report from an outside company, Pride Waterhouse, to ensure there were no other liabilities.
Training and information are the keys that focused the debate. The government group argues that even large multinationals are exposed to these increasingly sophisticated attacks and there is no zero risk. The modus operandi was similar and was not limited to emails. There were also phone calls and they even simulated bank logos or the identity of representatives of supplier companies was impersonated after gaining the trust of the official. Then the account number was changed and the payment of some supposed invoices was requested. A sophisticated and very well planned scam.
The largest amount of fraud, that of the Institute for Social and Socio-Health Care, was reported to the police by an Italian laundry services company, Mecno Service. The case was then brought before the National Police or to the Court just like the others.
As a result of these episodes, the Cabildo intensified training in cybersecurity with an agreement signed with the National Center for Scientific Research (CSIC) to develop a plan for the island’s municipalities, to which five have joined.
Both Martín and Vice President Enrique Arriaga, who spoke of the “unpleasant” situation, stressed that it is easy to obtain data from public administrations through the Transparency Law and the Public Contracts Platform. In fact, a report will be sent to these organizations to see the possibility of implementing some filters.
The spokesman for Canarian Coalition, Carlos Alonso, raised the need to improve prevention and put efforts in the presumed criminals and not in the responsibility of the workers of the Cabildo. This was a message repeated in an atmosphere that went from initial tension to an attempt to agree on a position that was as united as possible, a common front against the attacks.
Despite this, the non-attached director, María José Belda, expressed her “doubts” and the “difference in treatment” between companies. She gave the example of Metrotenerife while in Balten a disciplinary file was opened against a worker. Belda understands that the responsibility lies with the top managers of the companies and she demands a common protocol that interconnects the companies. She also raised possible banking liabilities, and Arriaga valued looking into them.
The spokesperson for the Popular Party, Zaida Gonzalez, requested the appearance. She criticized the “lack of internal communication” and argued that “it is not about pointing fingers at anyone but about learning from what has happened.”
The PSOE saw support for its initiative to support the “strategic” audiovisual sector and for the proposal to urge the elimination of the limit of 50 million euros for the deduction of audiovisual productions in Canary Islands. CC presented an alternative with an axis during filming in the Teide rejected (18-10). The socialist proposal had 25 votes, one against and two abstentions.
Rejection of the ecotax.
The tourist ecotax proposed by Sí Podemos Canarias was rejected by all groups. The spokesman David Carballo maintained discrepancies even with his predecessor in office Belda – she insinuated that he had agreed on the answers to the questions of the island director, Laura Castro. Diana Mora (CC) asked about the airline they proposed. She answered herself: “It is in the liquidation phase.”
Eight hours after the start of the plenary session, the debate on the improvements to the Valle Colino County Shelter raised by Ciudadanos was abruptly cut off. There was a hint of consensus but there were up to five different amendments to the original. Between references to the powers of the Cabildo or the town halls with the already usual prominence of the duo Javier Parrilla (PSOE)-Antolín Bueno (CC) the last hour of the debate passed. Six o’clock struck and the session ended without the proposal being voted on. Fade in black and until the next plenary session.