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Tancos: criminal organisations had shopping list of arms and explosives

grenadeThe Tancos commission of inquiry has heard evidence from former intelligence chief, Júlio Pereira, who avoided the assertion that foreign agencies already had shared a menu of weapons that had been requested by criminal organisations and that this list coincided with the weapons and explosives stolen from the army base.

At the end of the hearing, MPs on the commission asked about this ‘shopping list’ theory, as said list had been provided by foreign secret services at a meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Coordination Unit (UCAT) following the theft at Tancos in 2017.

Júlio Pereira, former secretary general of the Portuguese Republic's Security Information System (SIRP), said that the "security service was not aware of this list."

"It was a list of stolen material," MP, Matos Rosa insisted, on hearing Júlio Pereira's response.

Pereira also assured MPs that the Security Intelligence Services had no information on the likelihood of any theft of military equipment: if he had, "the Armed Forces would have been informed."

The theft of military equipment, including grenades, explosives and ammunition, from the Tancos arms depot was reported on June 29, 2017 and much of the haul was recovered four months later after it was dumped in the countryside nearby.

In 2018, seven officers of the Military Judiciary Police and the GNR were arrested, suspected of having arranged the return of the material in collusion with the author of the crime.

This process led to the dismissal of National Defence Minister, José Azeredo Lopes, in 2018 and General Rovisco Duarte, the army's chief of staff.

The inquiry commission is investigating the political responsibilities for the theft of the military equipment and will run until next June.


-2 #1 Derek Thomas 2019-03-14 15:37
As so often, it is clear that saving the face of the Portuguese military is the driver here - hence the childishly simple arranged news that "It's OK - most of the stuff has been found". Then add in the lamentable degree of professionalism of the Portuguese Secret Service which mirrors that of the PJ who do not have universal access to Interpol / Europol intelligence. Why else would a foreign agency have circulated this shopping list and not told the Security Information System (SIRP). That said no criminal group would be shopping for grenades but warlords in central Africa would be; an avenue this 'investigation' studiously avoids going down.