Submarine bribery payments are untraceable, end of case

submarineGood news indeed for the deputy prime minister Paulo Portas as the state prosecutor has decided officially to archive the submarine bribery and corruption case that has overshadowed the former defence minister for years.

The state prosecutor has ended up deciding not to prosecute anyone in the submarines case, which has been subject to eight years of investigation, all amounting to nothing.

Happy days too for defendants Helder Battaglia, Luis and Miguel Horta e Costa, and Pedro Ferreira Neto who will not be troubled further.

Portas was never charged and only appeared as a witness in the case that already had tracked a parallel trial in Germany where directors of Ferrostaal, one of the German consortium members, were given suspended sentences and stiff fines for 'bribing foreign officials' to get the €900 million submarine deal through.

It is a sad reflection on justice that at the Portuguese end of the crooked relationship the prosecutor after so much time could not prove who received the bribes that the Germans admitted sending.

More details are expected to be revealed during the current BES investigations as Escom, a BES subsidiary, handled the money but to whom this was handed remains a mystery. BES family members received at least €5 million but these were explained as being 'consultancy fees' by Ricardo Salgado.

The filing of 18 volumes of evidence covering eight years of work containing interviews, diagrams, a complete chronology of the facts, references to ministers’ council resolutions, email between the parties, contract terms, memos and email records will now go ahead as apparently nobody was on the take, or if they were, it is impossible to prove it.

The archiving of this massive case is based on the fact that none of the alleged crimes have been proven by the prosecution team which 'inherited' the case a little over a year ago and struggled from day one, hampered by a lack cooperation from the German court which refused to send transcripts of the successful Ferriostaal prosecution ‘unless authorised by Angela Merkel.’

The money trail was admittedly tricky to follow as commissions were paid through a number of offshore accounts, but if the state prosecutor is unable to access this banking data in this age of banking openness and cooperation between countries, there is no hope of pinning the bribes on individuals.

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+1 #3 Darren Williams 2014-12-19 18:58
Nigel raises an interesting point about Madeira and the submarine money.

Not least because, in these supposedly more open press times - we often get an 'issue' mentioned; which is never heard of again. As with this Madeira BES money and the earlier 1 1/2 billion missing through 2,000 fake invoices from an inward EU to Madeira investment.

On today's pt tv news one of the 6 candidates competing for Pres. Jardim's job referred to a change from nearly 40 years of oligarchy.

This guy Jardim was in power or near it from the Great Dictator's time ! And surely he would have known from the very top - the regional bank managers - what 'interesting' amounts had been lodged in his islands banks.

Bank secrecy ! In Portugal ! Ask a Portuguese what they think of any professional secrecy here !

The point being - is Jardim, in moving to the Portuguese mainland warning off the heavyweights here from having 'crises of conscience' and investigating his many millions ?

Signalling that he knows where any dodgy money that arrived in his bailiwick came from .... and went to. So leave him and his driver alone ?
+2 #2 Nigel W. 2014-12-18 15:52
lack of cooperation from the German court which refused to send transcripts of the successful Ferriostaal prosecution ...

Our Portuguese lawyer, who being born in Germany specifically handles fraud allegations made by Germans against locals in Portugal (and is never short of work) told us a couple of years ago that the German reluctance is due to them having original documents.

The Portuguese want these. And the German sources are understandably worried that the Portuguese end will lose or tamper with these originals. Which would frustrate any appeal or re-opening of the case at the German end.

Surely misuse of public money - if that crime existed in Portugal - would be the charge to place against these players. The Portuguese would all have expenses that directly tie in with events and places that the Germans have admitted to being at.

Anyway - surely the latest news is that BES Madeira has the money. And that this formal arquivement , but with a secrecy embargo which you did not mention - is to stop anything emerging to upset Snr Doors.
+12 #1 Karel 2014-12-18 09:04
Christmas period is a good time for forgiveness, isn't it ?
In the meantime of course everybody already forgot about the Chinese golden pass sharade so that as from next week they can prepare "a new act"....
Nice circus I must say.

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