Arrested - Sócrates spends Sunday answering further questions

socrates2José Sócrates continues to be questioned by judge Carlos Alexandre and will spend a third night behind bars at the central command police station in Moscavide, Lisbon.

The former prime minister was up bright and early this morning and was presented to the judge at the Campus of Justice at 08.35.

Confirmation that Sócrates will spend a third night in the PSP cells came from his lawyer, João Araújo.

The former PM’s next judicial interrogation at the Central Court of Criminal Investigation will start on Monday morning at 09.15. This session follows Sunday’s 12 hour stint at the Campus of Justice.

The judge is entering a dangerous legal area in holding Sócrates in detention for so long without one in a certain category of serious charges being brought against him.

The publicity-loving former prime minister has been the subject of headlines across the world this Sunday as he faced a grilling over possible evidence of his tax evasion, money laundering and/or corruption.

In a statement issued on Saturday by the Attorney General's Office, confirmation was given of the arrest of José Sócrates, the businessman Carlos Santos Silva, lawyer Gonçalo Trindade Ferreira and the former PM’s driver João Perna.

The Attorney General's Office statement also stated that the investigation "originated from a bank communication" to the investigators and this enquiry is not connected to other dodgy dealings that Sócrates is implicated in such as the Monte Branco and Furaçao enquiries.

This is the first time in the history of Portuguese politics that a former prime minister has been arrested and held for questioning and a shameful end to Sócrates' political career if he is found guilty of any serious charges.

The current Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has remained silent on the topic of Sócrates’ arrest yet will be utterly delighted that the media storm has blanked out the arrests of senior civil servants and business figures in the Golden Visa enquiry which saw the Passos Coelho lose his Minister for the Interior, Miguel Macedo.

The current Socialist opposition leader António Costa is in an embarrassing position, saying at the weekend that his party faithful will have to separate personal feelings from their political activities and that justice has to be seen to be independent and allowed to follow its course.

Costa was elected as party leader on Saturday with 96% of the votes cast in his favour but his big day was rather ruined by the press naturally wanting his reactions to the Sócrates arrest, rather than to report on his prepared statements on how he was going to lead the Socialists to victory in next year’s general election etc etc .

Sócrates was flying from France to Lisbon on Friday night to prepare for an appearance on his regular Sunday evening TV slot on RTP, but the programme controllers sheepishly had to make other plans as their star turn could not guarantee that he would be available, on account of his being under arrest.

Future RTP appearances are not going to happen, they are ‘suspended’ according to the channel management, and RTP’s coverage of this explosive affair has been suspiciously less than adequate over the weekend.

Few will miss José Sócrates’ TV appearances, an earlier petition to have him ousted received 140,000 supporters and many saw it as an affront that the man who signed the Troika appeal for a bailout as he shut the office door behind him, has been leading the gastronomic life of a Parisian millionaire ever since.

The press is alive with background and speculation as to the exact charges that have finally nailed the Teflon man of Portuguese politics but the clues point to his free access to large amounts of undeclared money held on his behalf in overseas accounts.

The details will emerge as the case goes on but Portugal’s secrecy laws will make it hard to separate fact from speculation for a while yet.

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From the algarvedailynews.com archive, September 2011.

Maybe we will be treated to an explanation of the bank statement below. 

Documents finally have come to light, after a year, indicating that the family of former Prime Minister José Socrates, have had accounts in offshore banks for nearly 30 years with hundreds of millions held on account.

The documents were delivered to the chief prosecutor's office over a year ago but only now are they being examined. The documents arrived at the Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) in Lisbon and are now under the auspices of the Central Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution (DCIAP) which will be under a degree of pressure to do something about this matter.

Most of the documents consist of bank statements. Documents exist about the purchase and sale of shares, the names of Cayman Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar companies, share certificates, stock exchange trading notes and securities transactions.

Newspaper 'Correio da Manha' said the documents "are authentic and show that several of Jose Socrates'  family members have transfered  large amounts of money outside the country for almost three decades."

There is nothing illegal about this. What is  illegal and classed as tax evasion is if the family members omitted to report worldwide income on their Portuguese tax returns.

The source of the money is as yet unrevealed. Will the judicary manage  pin it on the Teflon man himself or will this ex-PM manage to wriggle out of any accusation that he orchestrated a tax evasion scheme whilst running the country, and before. Does Socrates have any political weight left? Will the legal system collude and cover up?

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Comments  

-1 #2 chez 2014-11-24 09:58
Further proof that Portugal is a banana republic!
+5 #1 Malcolm.H 2014-11-24 09:21
Excellent 'predictive' 2011 article Ed.

You were spot on ... but why are we just talking about a piddling 20 million in 2014 when in 2011 you referred to many hundreds of millions ?

Did the 'system' - for a handsome fee - collude and cover up? The chauffeur must have covered many kilometres shuffling the funds back and forth. And if so will any heads now roll in DCIAP?

It always seemed a mystery how little the previous Prosecutor General - Pinto Monteiro - did over his 6 years at the helm to control Socrates or indeed any of the other heavyweights.

But then that may have been why he was in the post ... to look the other way when necessary. Has the current one attempted to do likewise - but been bounced into this by the ECB ? Now they have overall scrutiny of Euro area banking.

Not just me stirring - here the Diario Noticias feels concerned enough to write about it

http://www.dn.pt/inicio/portugal/interior.aspx?content_id=2816406

Oh and just a quickie. Got any predictions for Kempton Park or Ludlow today ? Any race ... only asking as the going is a bit soggy so less obvious.

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