The news was quite a surprise at the time, although it was tempered by the summer season. At the end of July 2015, The world published that the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) dismissed the mathematician Manuel de León as director of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences for alleged bad practices revealed after an internal audit.
This complaint, which concerned the management and organization of the institute, It was made after a complaint from Carlos Muñoz, director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics (IFT), which shares a building with the ICMAT, located on the campus of the Autonomous University of Madrid. The mathematical center is managed by the CSIC and three universities: the UAM, the Carlos III and the Complutense University.
At the time, it seemed like a brawl between physicists and mathematicians after which the CSIC ended up finding irregularities. However, now the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid has issued a ruling that finds in favor of the mathematician.
In this, the magistrate declares “the Complainant’s right to be readmitted as director of ICMAT“. To reach this conclusion, it is based on an expert report that concludes that “there is no reprehensible conduct” and on the testimony of several witnesses.
One of them, Rafael Orive, who held the position of acting director after De León’s dismissal, declared in court that the termination decision had been made prior to the aforementioned audit report, in this case, in January 2015, although it was not communicated until June. Finally, Orive pointed out that the “loss of confidence” on which the dismissal was based “is a very generic allegation, what existed is an interest in losing the condition of director”.
The sentence, for which there is an appeal, points to the ICMAT manager, Amelia Aneiros, as the trigger for the conspiracy that ended with the termination of the mathematician. Aneiros, described as “a person of the utmost confidence of the Secretary General of the CSIC” it was according to the magistrate the cause that Manuel de León happened to be considered a person not grateful for the public research body.
From there, came the chronology of events. On February 19, 2015, the manager sends a letter to the Secretary General of the CSIC warning them of the irregularities of the director of the center. Four days later, Muñoz, then director of the Center for Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (CFTMAT), a joint management body whose leadership alternated with De León, sends a new dossier to the Vice President of Organization and Institutional Relations of the CSIC. On June 2, the internal audit was carried out and, just a month later, the decision was made to dismiss the director of ICMAT.