Activities surrounding sales of the book purportedly written by José Sócrates ‘A Confiança no Mundo – a Tortura em Democracia’ is one of the arguments used by Lisbon judges to keep the former prime minister in jail.
The judgment of March 17th, pointed to the defendant’s communication skills and his ability to ‘handle the facts,’ giving as an example the self-promotion surrounding the launch of his book, giving it an apparent editorial success far above any result generated by any real interest in the book.
The judges were referring specifically to fact that Sócrates arranged for his contacts to buy up thousands of copies of the book in various parts of the country soon after its launch.
The research submitted in evidence shows that €170,000 was moved from the bank account of businessman Carlos Santos Silva, the holder of the former prime minister’s money, and then was delivered to several people who bought about 10,000 copies artificially to boost sales and satisfy the former prime minister's insatiable ego.
Those involved in the rigging of the sales figures were João Perna (fellow defendant and Sócrates’ driver), lawyer Gonçalo Ferreira, the Socialist MPs Renato Sampaio and André Figueiredo, Inês Rosario, Ligia Correia (former secretary in the PS governments) and businessman Rui Mão-de-Ferro.
The judges concluded that "For these reasons, together with others, there is a justified fear and lack of confidence in the conduct of the defendant, which accentuates the very high risk of his disrupting the investigation into his connection to illegal activities.”
A row has just erupted over accusations that José Sócrates did not even write the book.
The 'Sol' newspaper reported today that the book in question was written by a university professor who abdicated his intellectual property rights in favour of the former PM, for a payment.
This allegation is based on phone tapped conversations gathered as part of Operation Marquês.
Lawyers for José Sócrates reacted with claims of slander and denied categorically the accusation on behalf of their client.
"This news is false and slanderous", and lawyers João Araújo and Pedro Delille said they are to start legal proceedings against the publisher.
José Socrates launched the book in October, 2013, in a ceremony attended by the former president of Brazil, the former Head of State, Mário Soares and other socialist luminaries.
'Confidence in the World - Torture in Democracy', was published by Editorial Verbo and addresses the use of torture in democratic societies.
At the time, Sócrates explained that the text corresponded to the academic work he had done for the Institute of Political Studies in Paris after leaving the government in 2011.
If the book indeed was written by a university professor, as claimed by 'Sol,' the former prime minister’s disgrace will be complete even before his trial begins, should he ever formally be charged.