TRAGEDY IN MADRID

Security firm denies any role at fatal Halloween party

Kontrol 34 "had nothing to do with" Madrid Arena tragedy

Carlos Manzanares Rodríguez leaves a Madrid court on Wednesday. / SAMUEL SÁNCHEZ (EL PAÍS)

The owner of Kontrol 34, the security company that appears in Madrid City Hall documents as responsible for controlling access to a Halloween party at which four young women lost their lives in a crush, testified on Wednesday that his firm "had nothing to do" with the event.

Carlos Manzanares Rodríguez, who left court in a motorcycle helmet and dark glasses, reiterated that he had merely acted as an intermediary in the hiring of "auxiliary workers who did not carry out security tasks."

Rodríguez's defense lawyer told the judge that his client had done business with Diviertt, the promotion company behind the event, for 10 years and simply facilitated a list of people licensed to work as doormen, as Diviertt had asked him to. From this list, Diviertt unilaterally contracted 63 people as auxiliary workers, not as doormen, because it did not have jurisdiction over the venue, which was the responsibility of Seguriber, hired directly by venue owner Madrid Espacios y Empresas, the lawyer said.

A day earlier, Diviertt had claimed that sole responsibility for security fell on Seguriber, which is contracted by Madrid City Hall. Seguriber claims access control was not its role as its contract only covers security outside the Madrid Arena.

Rodríguez remains under investigation. Diviertt owner Miguel Ángel Flores has been bailed to report to police twice monthly and faces possible manslaughter charges over the deaths of Katia Esteban, Cristina Arce de la Fuente, Rocío Oña Pineda and Belén Langdon del Real, who died in a human crush after hundreds of ticketless revelers gatecrashed the event on November 1.

 

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