Good news indeed for the deputy prime minister Paulo Portas as the state prosecutor has decided officially to archive the submarine bribery and corruption case that has overshadowed the former defence minister for years.
The state prosecutor has ended up deciding not to prosecute anyone in the submarines case, which has been subject to eight years of investigation, all amounting to nothing.
Happy days too for defendants Helder Battaglia, Luis and Miguel Horta e Costa, and Pedro Ferreira Neto who will not be troubled further.
Portas was never charged and only appeared as a witness in the case that already had tracked a parallel trial in Germany where directors of Ferrostaal, one of the German consortium members, were given suspended sentences and stiff fines for 'bribing foreign officials' to get the €900 million submarine deal through.
It is a sad reflection on justice that at the Portuguese end of the crooked relationship the prosecutor after so much time could not prove who received the bribes that the Germans admitted sending.
More details are expected to be revealed during the current BES investigations as Escom, a BES subsidiary, handled the money but to whom this was handed remains a mystery. BES family members received at least €5 million but these were explained as being 'consultancy fees' by Ricardo Salgado.
The filing of 18 volumes of evidence covering eight years of work containing interviews, diagrams, a complete chronology of the facts, references to ministers’ council resolutions, email between the parties, contract terms, memos and email records will now go ahead as apparently nobody was on the take, or if they were, it is impossible to prove it.
The archiving of this massive case is based on the fact that none of the alleged crimes have been proven by the prosecution team which 'inherited' the case a little over a year ago and struggled from day one, hampered by a lack cooperation from the German court which refused to send transcripts of the successful Ferriostaal prosecution ‘unless authorised by Angela Merkel.’
The money trail was admittedly tricky to follow as commissions were paid through a number of offshore accounts, but if the state prosecutor is unable to access this banking data in this age of banking openness and cooperation between countries, there is no hope of pinning the bribes on individuals.