Police have arrested a businessman for his supposed implication in the stealing of two million masks from a hospital in Spain.
The masks, along with other stolen medical supplies, are estimated to be worth more than AUS$8 million. Some of the stolen goods were sold to neighbouring country Portugal, the Galician regional government said in a statement.
The Spanish government had to buy face masks from China in an emergency purchase. as it was left without enough masks when people became infected with coronavirus and hundreds of people began to die every day in Spain.
According to investigators the theft is said to have occurred at the end of February.
Alfonso Rueda, vice-president of the regional Xunta de Galicia regional government, visited the theft site on Monday and said only around 100 out of the two million face masks stored there had been left untouched.
He said: ‘The police received a tip-off that there could have been valuable health equipment here which would have been so necessary in the fight against Covid-19. ‘It had been cleaned out by the time they arrived. We calculate two million face masks have been stolen. Only the boxes are left.
‘There are also empty boxes which contained surgical gloves but we don’t know at this stage exactly how many are missing.’
He added: ‘The police investigation has led to the identification and arrest of the main suspect, a person from Santiago who has already appeared in court.’
The suspect, a director at a well-known local real estate firm has been arrested.