UK paid businessman £21 MILLION in taxpayer's cash to help supply PPE to NHS for coronavirus pandemic

THE UK paid a businessman £21million in taxpayer's cash to help supply PPE to the NHS in the coronavirus pandemic.

A Florida-based jewellery designer landed "a number of lucrative contracts" with factories in China manufacturing gloves and gowns.

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Michael Saiger then enlisted a Spanish businessman, Gabriel Gonzalez Andersson, to act as a go-between.

His job was to aid with "procurement, logistics, due diligence, product sourcing and quality control" on deals which had already been brokered.

The BBC reports a court case in Miami has highlighted the amount of money made by companies supplying the NHS with equipment to protect against the virus.

Documents from a court dispute between the two men describe Mr Andersson as having done "very well under this arrangement", after making £21m on two contracts.

Mr Saiger, who made an unknown amount from the deals, reportedly signed three more agreements to supply the NHS with millions of PPE items in June.

Mr Andersson would have received around $20m more in consulting fees from those deals, it is thought.

However court documents allege he stopped working for Mr Saiger after the agreements were signed, which led to vital deliveries being delayed.

The Department of Health and Social care published contracts with Mr Saiger's company, Saiger LLC, worth more than £200m.

PPE PAYOUT

As well as the court case in the US, campaign group the Good Law Project are set to challenge the deals in the UK, accusing the Government of not paying "sufficient regard" to tax payers' money.

Jolyon Maugham, the project's director, said: "We do not understand why, as late as June, government was still making direct awards of contracts sufficiently lucrative as to enable these sorts of profits to be made.

"The real criticism that is to be made here is of the huge profits that government allows to be generated."

The BBC contacted Gabriel Gonzalez Andersson for comment but he did not respond.

A Department of Health and Social Care Spokesperson could not comment on legal proceedings, but said: “We have been working tirelessly to deliver PPE, delivering more than 4.9 billion items to the frontline so far.

"Almost 32 billion items have been ordered to provide a continuous supply, which will meet the future needs of health and social care staff.

“Proper due diligence is carried out for all government contracts and we take these checks extremely seriously.”

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) varies, but it is the extra layers used to keep the wearer safe from pathogens, chemicals and most importantly right now, coronavirus.

The main goal of PPE is to stop pathogen-loaded airborne particles, like saliva or blood, transferring from patient to medic, like an extreme sneeze guard.

PPE stops those particles getting into the wearer's body through vulnerable points like their mouths, lungs and eyes.

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