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Military chiefs and Paulo Portas to be grilled over submarine case

submarineThe commission of enquiry looking into the purchase of military equipment, including two submarines from a German consortium led by Ferrostaal, is formally to question 40 people including military chiefs and former ministers of defence including the current deputy prime minister, Paulo Portas.

The chairman of the inquiry, Telmo Correia, will schedule the first batch of hearings for July and will call the military chiefs first.

Careful note will be taken of the court case that already has been concluded in Germany which saw executives sacked from consortium leader Ferrostaal amid proven bribery and corruption allegations involving the sale of submarines to Portugal and Greece.

The new hearings will delve into the contracts relating to Portugal’s purchase of submarines and Pandur armored vehicles during the coalition government led by Barroso and in which Paulo Portas was defence minister.

At last some top military figures will be grilled, including Admiral Luis Fragoso Macieira, General Carlos Jerónimo, and General José Pinheiro.

The list also includes former defense ministers António Vitorino, Jaime Gama, Júlio Castro Caldas, Rui Pena, Paulo Portas, Luís Amado, Nuno Severiano Teixeira, Augusto Santos Silva, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco.

Correia is not stopping there as the former presidents of the standing committee for these contra deals will be called and the former Director General of Armaments and Defence, Vice-Admiral Carlos Viegas Filipe and Major-general Gravita Chambel.

In 2004 the German Submarine Consortium, led by Ferrostaal, secured an order for €880 million from the Portuguese government.

The German company then was meant to spend an equal amount buying into Portuguese companies and projects which is has failed to do. In 2013 Greece's former Defence Minister was jailed after being found guilty of receivig €8m million in bribes from Ferrostaal which was fined €140 million for bribery and corruption.

In a well-timed announcement, Ferrostaal stated last week that it was to buy into a Galp/Martifer stalled green energy project Ventinveste, spending €200 million.

After nine years of avoiding spending one cent, it may be hard for many to believe that the suspiciously timed investment from Ferrostaal will ever happen.

In the meantime the Germans now have evidence that the former honorary consul of Portugal in Munich, Jurgen Adolff, who was suspended from his job on corruption suspicions in 2002, did indeed set up meetings between two Ferrostaal directors and Barroso and Paulo Portas – a accusation he has denied.

The honorary consul was implicated during the German prosecution of Ferrostaal employees in Munich concerning the sale of submarines to Greece and Portugal. The German authorities accused Adolff of being an intermediary who benefitted from the sale of submarines. He was found guilty but appealed.

A trial in Lisbon of those involved in the submarine deal ostensibly ended in February 2014 when nobody was found to have done anything wrong, surprising as German executives from Ferrostaal already had received sentences and fines in their own country for bribing Greek and Portuguese decision makers.

Portugal's Public Prosecutor then reviewed the case and in a stinging report decreed that Lisbon’s Appeal Court should cancel the judgement that saw all 10 defendants walk free despite serious accusations of having benefitted from €30 million in secret payments from the German consortium that supplied the equipment.

The Public Prosecutor commented that the judges in the case had made errors and had displayed poor reasoning when the facts pointed to the guilt of those on trial, in other words the judges were either stupid or bent.

The parliamentary committee investigation is part of the process of understanding who did what and almost certainly will lead to a retrial astThe German trial, as one example, uncovered a €1 million payment to ‘a Portuguese Admiral’ but nobody ever has been held to account in Portugal for receiving this bribe.

Charges must surely follow the enquiry and all eyes will be on Paulo Portas who has steadfastly denied receiving any monetary benefit from the deal, hard to believe when €800 million is changing hands in a country not known for its probity.

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+2 #4 Agnes 2014-07-07 11:37
Greece's difficulty is somewhat different to Portugals although both countries spent crazily and clearly massive bungs were involved. Their neuroses fuelling the arms buying.

(Greece) had 1,300 tanks – more than twice as many as Britain. (and)

'The ICC (arbitration) appeal is likely to be part of Greece’s attempts to shift the blame for its massive overspending onto other European countries.'

This link makes clear, as Chancellor Merkel laughingly said recently that Greece, lacking the justification to fulfil payment - invented excuses to get out.

The Greeks accusing the Germans - a country with a long history of making subs - of selling them one that 'listed'. A fault the Germans never found themselves.

+2 #3 Adrian 2014-07-07 09:15
All about Greek subs, sound familiar?
+3 #2 Adrian 2014-07-07 09:07
Strange to relate there was a story in, 'The Daily Telegraph' recently (12/06/2014) where Greece had bought two submarines from Germany, the Greeks are suing the consortium which supplied the subs for 7 billion!. Some Greek MP's state the Greek government was 'encouraged' by Germany to buy armaments. I almost forgot!, the Greek defence minister at the time was jailed for taking a bribe of 8 million from guess who?, Ferrostaal of course
+3 #1 Henry. 2014-07-07 09:07
Ref the Submarines investigation. Deputy Prime Minister Portas's original statements.

Accesible via the Cloud - includes the following 'No way can you rozzers pin this one on me. I am a city boy. Most of the property I own is in old Lisbon; you know what the streets are like? How the **** can I park even one submarine outside my house ? And you guys are saying I've nicked two. Parking would be a nightmare. My neighbours are all retired military and police types – no idea where they got their money from to live there. And not the kind you want to ask about the source of their moulah … or apologise to - because you are blocking their kids Roller in.

With guys like this we are not just talking about scratching car keys down the side of a submarine ….

and can you stop sliding that envelope back across to me ? At least look inside - that's my final offer'.

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