José Sócrates is to sue the Portuguese State for the delay in the Operation Marquês investigation that has left him in a legal limbo.
The former prime minister also is threatening to go to the European Court of Human Rights over what he calls, ‘political persecution.’
At a press conference today, the former prime minister announced that he had handed in a court petition against the State, referring to a “scandalous violation of the maximum legal deadlines of the investigation", as the case against him has so far taken 42 months when the legal maximum is 18 months.
Sócrates has not named a figure for the amount in damages that he is pursuing, saying this is for the court to decide.
Before the former PM applies to the European Court, he must go through all available legal processes in Portugal and exhaust all legal possibilities.
Of Operation Marquês, Socrates says that it already is clear that "this process has never been an investigation into any crime, but a personal persecution that can only have at its origin a clear political motivation."
He refers to "abusive detention, imprisonment for investigation, malicious imputations without foundation, and a defamation campaign."
The former PM says that "no one can be considered a suspect all his life without being able to defend himself."
Sócrates added, "I am persecuted, I do not know what I am accused of, I was illegally arrested," adding that when he was in charge of things, he did not realise that "it was possible in Portugal to be imprisoned for a year without charge,” and that all the charges against him are a "huge scam."
José Sócrates also accused the authorities of carrying on a "permanent and vicious public campaign of defamation"
Of the involvement of the Lena Group in his troubles, Sócrates said that it is now "obvious to all" that the accusations of favoring projects such as the Airport, Parque Escolar or TGV were "false and unfair."
In brief, it’s all a scam and a “monumental hoax."
Of his alleged meddling with land classifications at Vale de Lobo, the former PM said this "did not allow another square meter of construction" and the resort was "forced to build fewer lots near the coast.”
José Sócrates is but one of the 20 defendants in the Operation Marquês case who will know by March 17th of the the specific charges against them, within the broad net of qualified tax fraud, money laundering and passive corruption for an illegal act.
Among the other defendants is former BES president Ricardo Salgado, Carlos Santos Silva, Helder Bataglia, Joaquim Barroca, Paulo Lalanda de Castro, administrator of Octapharma in Portugal, Diogo Gaspar Ferreira and Rui Mano de Ferro, Inês Pontes do Rosário (the wife of Carlos Santos Silva), the lawyer Gonçalo Trindade Ferreira, and Barbara Vara, daughter of Armando Vara, and finally the ex-wife of José Sócrates, Sofia Fava.