Former Prime Minister José Sócrates is to be taken to Lisbon to be questioned about the violation of judicial secrecy following his arrest and already has expressed his desire to cooperate.
Sócrates will be heard next Monday by a magistrate from the Department of Investigation and Prosecution in Lisbon which is investigating possible violations of the ‘secrecy of justice’ in the Operation Marquês case that largely has been played out in the country’s media.
Sócrates has expressed a willingness to be heard in any investigation related to the widespread leaks that surround his case where the evidence, like in any other, is meant to be secret.
Sócrates’ lawyer announced the filing of a complaint of ‘violation of the secrecy of justice’ on behalf of his client who has been in Évora jail since late November 2014 suspected of corruption, tax fraud and money laundering.
The prosecution claims that Sócrates benefited from money from a bank account in the name of his friend Carlos Santos Silva who is held in the same jail.
The money is suspected of having come from the Lena Group as payments for successful public tenders won during the time Sócrates was prime minister.
The questioning of Socrates by officers at the Department of Investigation and Prosecution in Lisbon coincides with the date on which his continued detention will be reviewed by judge Carlos Alexandre at the Central Criminal Court.
About the frequent leaks, the head of the Department of Investigation and Prosecution, Maria José Morgado, said "information leakage, by the defence, is common in cases of grand corruption."
In a frank and hard-hitting interview on RTP on Wednesday, Morgado explained the nature of corruption and that it was often more involved than ‘do this and I will give you that’ as it brought into play more complex forces involving a number of behaviors and decisions.
Morgado attributed the current rash of high profile cases to the experience and courage of the judges as well to the affects of the financial crisis in Portugal.
"The economic crisis is like when the mud appears at low tide. There has been a lot of mud that recently has appeared" adding that the crisis has helped to explain" how the money from our taxes was squandered and how the state budget was a feeding post for many people."
The very hardness of the crisis has "allowed the glass to be broken and the realisation of what lies beyond the seemingly harmonious landscape."
Morgado also said that there is a danger of state employees involved in public procurement helping themselves" and gave as an example the fraud in the health service, including over the acquisition of hospital equipment. "Health is an area vulnerable to fraud and corruption."
On the issue of economic and financial crime, the director of DIAP said that “when a drug dealer is caught his stock is confiscated and he normally goes to jail i.e. there is a guaranteed risk to this activity. With economic and financial crime, our criminal justice system in the last 20 years has held no associated risk. Convictions have been virtually nonexistent for activities such as financial crimes and influence peddling."
"Justice has gained strength, especially in the fight against crime," said Morgado, adding that "from the moment that there are high profile cases, this transmits a message to criminals."
As for financial crimes, "we have a faceless enemy because there is no clear victim, the victim is all of us and we can’t complain collectively. These are the intangible costs of corruption: more government deficit, more government spending, more expensive public services, more tax and injustice."
When asked about the Sócrates case, Morgado simply said, “people are not stupid.”