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Prosecutor has until November 20th to charge José Sócrates

socrates2The latest deadline for the conclusion of the Operation Marquis investigation is November 20th, 2017.

The Attorney General's Office confirmed that the last letter rogatory was attached to the file on 22 August. On April 27, the Attorney General had established that the inquiry would be concluded three months after receipt of this last letter rogatory.

From receipt of this letter, the Attorney General's Office has 90 days in which to conclude the long-running investigation.

This takes the case to November 20, the eve of the third anniversary of the arrest of José Sócrates at Lisbon airport.

The response to the letter rogatory concerned data relating to the contents of a safety deposit box in a Swiss bank.

In April 2017, lawyers acting for the former prime minister complained that the attorney general had been using "unreasonable reasons to explain the continued violation of the law."

In July, the defence team marked the fourth anniversary of the opening of the investigation with a statement noting the seven extensions to the case’s conclusion granted to the Public Ministry.

Lawyers João Araújo and Pedro Delille also criticised the authorities' "arrogant display of force," and insisted that deadlines for the Operation Marquês already had been exhausted.

José Sócrates was arrested on November 21, 2014 at Lisbon airport as a result of an investigation that had started on July 19, 2012. The former prime minister was held in connection with qualified tax fraud, corruption and money laundering and spent 41 weeks in Évora prison.

In addition to José Sócrates, the defendants include Armando Vara, a former CGD director and former socialist minister, Carlos Santos Silva, a businessman and friend of the former prime minister, Joaquim Barroca, a businessman from the Lena Group and Ricardo Salgado, the former president of Banco Espírito Santo.

Also accused are João Perna, Sócrates driver, Paulo Lalanda de Castro from Octapharma, Henrique Granadeiro and Zeinal Bava bioth from PT, the lawyer Gonçalo Trindade Ferreira, the businessmen Diogo Gaspar Ferreira and Rui Mano de Ferro and the businessman Hélder Bataglia.

The investigation is currently being carried out by a team of ten prosecutors and 22 inspectors from the Tax Authority. The case has 32 defendants, including ten companies.

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