The justice confirms the verdict given to two workers of a company called Bastión Desokupación. Vicente is one of those who have been convicted of a minor offense of injury, racking up another sentence for a minor offense of coercion and condemned for another attempted vacancy in a house in the Arganzuela neighborhood (Madrid). After breaking away from this company, he describes the company’s working methods as follows: “Take three Machacas and you go out without papers to get fired.”
The transition to the security sector and unemployment came about thanks to the combat sports environment. “[Fue] Through a boxer friend who told me, “You’re giving a profile to help these families. They’re looking for a guy like you who speaks well and gives an image”. Work at Bastion Desokupación.
Vicente (fictitious name) says that from the first day he knew something was wrong. That turning point came when he saw his “former boss come in [en una casa] He said he was a forensic expert.” He also wondered “how he treated” tenants or people who were about to be evicted.
“It’s one thing to be fired and another to work,” he says in an interview with elDiario.es at his lawyers’ office. Although he is very critical of the way Bastión Desokupación operates, he defends the behavior of the companies dedicated to this work. In fact, he continues to work in this sector.
Unidas Podemos has already announced measures to limit the work of these companies. A federal group has filed a bill in Congress to prosecute these companies through criminal code reform. Social Rights Minister Ione Bellara assured that they want to prevent refugee organisations, which are “driven by profit, from harassing, harassing, discriminating or intimidating people in vulnerable situations”.
From the Union of Renters in Madrid, they also blame the behavior of the scooter companies for “working outside the law”. The representative of this organization defends that these companies work in parallel with the rule of law. However, he warns of the “ecological fear” he physically instills in workers hired to evict homes. “They’re not mediators, they’re coercive,” this interviewer admits.
Justice has already warned about the methods of the workers of Bastión Desokupación. On February 14, the Madrid Provincial Court confirmed the convictions of two employees of this company for minor crimes. The ratified sentencing report states that these workers “inflicted several blows and pushed the appellant” when “he was leaving the house, which was clearly illegally occupied, while they demanded the handover of the house keys”. As reported by elDiario.es.
The court also upheld the conviction in May 2022 of coercion against the same employees of this company for a minor crime. The magistrate found it confirmed that the defendants used intimidation to force the woman to leave her house in the San Blas neighborhood (Madrid) for 1,200 euros. In the latter decision, it is argued that the employees’ “physical appearance” – with their “large build” – contributed to the “anxiety created by the victim”.
Vicente appears condemned in these two sentences. However, he and his lawyers also confirm that he was not aware of these court decisions. “I didn’t know, I didn’t know that I got a call from 50,000 [sitios]”. Always true to his story, he found out about the court trouble when a “colleague” texted him. “We’ll see each other in court tomorrow,” he told her. From there, his lawyers gathered information. Regarding the penalty notice, Desocupa’s company attorney limited himself to saying that he was not responsible for Vicente’s “legal defense” “after he was fired from the company.”
Their trial does not end with these two convictions, they were also denounced by Modou (a fictitious name), originally from Senegal and living in our country. Two more workers from Bastión Desokupación are accused in the investigation of the case. In November, the complainant explained to elDiario.es how the accused entered his house without permission and, always according to his version, one of them identified himself as a police officer.
In a court filing obtained by this newsroom during the investigation into the case, Vicente explained that it was his boss who identified himself as a “forensic expert” — not an agent — and called to open the door. He also confirms that Modu “let go when he saw the board.”
In an interview with this newsroom, Vicente provides more details about his role in this eviction effort. He explains that being identified as a “forensic expert” helped his mission. “It’s great to go into houses,” he says, criticizing this behavior. “When a judge comes to you with an expert badge, you don’t know what it is, you hear ‘judge’, you open the house, you open the refrigerator and you open everything. What are you going to do? It’s so easy to get fired,” he confirms.
Although the respondent claims to have observed this behavior “50 times” — “not once, not twice” — the employee he accuses of committing the acts denies them, according to documents consulted by this newsroom. Claiming to be an “expert judge” but denying “at any time posing as an agent of authority or displaying any insignia,” he accepts a court order issued a month ago.
Several agents came to the Modou portal to mediate between the complainant and the company members. During this raid, the police found that “one of the accused had a card that said he was a forensic expert”, but they believed that this material could not be “confused with a National Police Corps identification plate”.
The interviewee claims that he left the company due to non-compliance with the work rules, but the company offers another version. Bastión Desokupación’s lawyer claims that Vicente was “fired from the company for various violations”. In addition, it claims that this employee is trying to “discredit the company with false statements.”
Although Vicente is no longer part of this company, he is still associated with unemployment. He does not want to disclose his working methods. It is limited to the consideration that entering the house during the working day is a victory. “Once you get into the comfort of home, you break patterns [a los inquilinos]”, he tells and claims that in his work “everything is psychological”. The emotional factor has a very important role. “You’re sitting in his chair, you’re invading his privacy. It destroys them.” At this point, he’s already focused on “convincing” the tenants to return the home to the “rightful owner.” From there, he insists, he’s always trying to “find the most affordable solution for us.”
Modu recalls these workers coming home as “intimidating”. It all started with “a loud knock on the door of the house”. At that point – always according to the accused – the plate was shown and “without giving any further explanation to the declarant, these four persons forced him into the interior of the house,” according to the tenant’s police complaint. Modu’s children witnessed the events. “They are scared because they have been in Spain for a while. are afraid I tell them that they will not enter again,” says the complainant.
“I was going [como personal] security. I need to know that they [a sus compañeros]Nothing happened to them,” recalled Vicente, who also clarified during the investigation that Modu taught them the judicial “moratorium” and at that moment the fight began because his boss “took the paper and left.” He claims that he was the one who returned the paper to the complainant. Official sources at the High Court of Justice in Madrid confirmed to this newsroom in November that Modu had until 2024 to be released from the house because he was considered a “vulnerable person”.
The version provided by the defendants is completely different from the version provided by Modou. They deny breaking into the house and claim that they were invited to enter the house by one of the tenants, as stated in the police report. While in the room, they intended to “reach an agreement with the residents on a voluntary and peaceful takeover of the house.”
On their websites, these companies advertise themselves as peaceful and legal mediators to resolve these situations, which they say are all too common. “Given that the IDPs were evicted from our country after a long delay in court, express eviction is born.” That’s how Bastión Desokupación advertises itself on its website. They state that they know “how to deal with each specific case in order to have a quick and legal eviction.”
Modou’s lawyer tried unsuccessfully to try the case for the alleged crimes of coercion, trespass and usurpation of public functions. In the end, the court ruled that it would only proceed to an alleged minor crime, under duress, since “those investigated were those who alerted the police to mediate in the conflict.”
In this order, Section 23 magistrates maintain that the actions of these companies “are not illegal, but they are outside the law as there is no regulation in this regard”. Nevertheless, they claim that the displaced companies “usually use peaceful methods” as well as “procedures based on efforts to prevent squatters from leaving the occupied property”.
The actions of the employees of this company are evaluated more critically by the magistrate who confirmed the crime of injury. “Appellants indicate that they are acting as mediators without presenting a formal university degree or advanced professional training and relevant training to conduct mediation,” warns the Section 15 judge in a ruling consulted by this newsroom.
“Maybe the street teaches you more than a title, because I grew up with very spoiled people,” Vicente responds to the judge’s accusations. He uses his neighborhood experience and developed intuition to insist that he does not need training in this area. “When I see a boy, I know if he’s in trouble.” I may be wrong, I’m human, but 99% [de los casos] I know if [el afectado] Disasters happen if there is a drug station…”.
Before you stop reading…
elDiario.es is funded by the contributions of 61,000 members who support us. Thanks to them, we can write articles like this and that all readers – including those who can’t pay – have access to our information. But please consider our situation for a moment. Unlike other media, we do not shut down our journalism. And that makes it much more difficult for us than it is for other media to convince readers to pay.
If you get information from elDiario.es and you think that our journalism is important and worth to exist and reach as many people as possible, support us. Because our work is necessary and because elDiario.es needs it. Become a member of elDiario.es, become a member.
Source: El Diario