Court documents filed in Florida shine a light on the murky world of PPE procurement and show how one consultant made more than $50 million from PPE deals, including significant ones with the British government.
The court case pitches Michael A Saiger, who runs a fashion empire from Miami against a business associate Gabriel Gonzalez Andersson, who according to the documents was to provide ‘services’ to facilitate the deal.
It’s not clear from the documents precisely what the services were.
There is no suggestion that Andersson or Michael Saiger did anything illegal.
The documents claim Michael Saiger “had significant experience in working with manufacturers and distributors in China.
"Based on this experience, Mr Saiger was able to secure a number of lucrative contracts with the government of the United Kingdom.”
The total value of these contracts, which were never put out to competitive tender are eye-watering, totalling £197 million.
The documents show Mr Saiger agreed to supply the PPE comprising 1,000,000 boxes of Titan nitrile gloves.
Mr Saiger’s company Saiger LLC, would then pay Andersson’s company ‘Glezco’, “approximately $1,667,896.57 (£1,257,802) for ‘services performed.”
In addition, Mr Saiger was to supply 3 million boxes of Blue Sail nitrile gloves, generating “approximately $3,661,645.57 (£2,762,730) for ‘services performed’” by Mr Andersson.
And as if that wasn’t enough Mr Andersson also stood to make a whopping $16,007,521.47 (£12,070,552) for ‘services performed’ on the supply of 10.2 million surgical gowns.
The documents claim Mr Andersson had already done “very well under this arrangement, and for his assistance in the completion of two contracts, was paid more than $28 million (£21.1m)”.
The documents state that “Looking to solidify its operations and expand its footprint in Europe, in March 2020, Saiger LLC began discussions with Defendant Andersson.
"As a result of representations made by Mr Andersson during those discussions, Mr Saiger understood Mr Andersson to be an experienced operator of large-scale distribution projects, similar to the types of projects Saiger LLC was undertaking.”
The court documents detail Andersson was to provide “services to Saiger LLC, which includes ‘sourcing the manufacturer, due diligence and coordinating logistics.’”
But Saiger’s lawyers contend that “Unfortunately, and unacceptably, Defendants’ failure to perform under the contracts caused business interruptions that delayed the delivery of PPE to health care providers and first responders in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A spokesman for Mr Saiger said: “Our CEO has 15 years’ specialist experience in the production and distribution of high-quality goods sourced at best value from reputable factories in Asia.
"We have an extensive network of manufacturing and distribution contacts in Asia and we are an agile, nimble firm able to move rapidly.
“These attributes mean that few other suppliers can match us on speed, quality or value to the taxpayer, and we have used this combination to great effect for the benefit of the UK. At the height of the pandemic, and at a time when the NHS was in need of high-quality PPE that met the required safety standards, we delivered for Britain, on time and at value.
"We are exceptionally proud to have played our part in providing frontline workers in the UK, including nurses, doctors and hospital staff, with the millions of pieces of PPE they need to stay safe and to save lives.
“At no time have we ever used any ‘middlemen’. We have few full-time staff so for large projects we bring in short-term contractors for additional expertise and capacity, allowing us to deliver what is needed.”
Mr Andersson could not be reached for comment on the case.