Ex-prime minister José Sócrates now implicated in Portugal’s escalating financial scandals
Former prime minister José Sócrates has now been caught up in the escalating spiral of financial scandals sweeping through Portugal’s elite.
Days after BES banking mogul Ricardo Espírito Santo Salgado was implicated in the infamous Monte Branco investigation centring on money-laundering and tax evasion on a momentous scale, news magazine Sábado reveals that investigators also have their eyes on José Sócrates.
The Public Ministry has been watching the former Socialist leader for “various months”, claims Sábado, and wants access to his banking and fiscal records.
Sócrates is said to be suspected of crimes of a “fiscal nature” within the Monte Branco operation – described as the largest money-laundering scam in Portugal ever detected – and the paper claims he may well be called in for further questioning soon.
According to reports elsewhere in the Portuguese media, DCIAP (the department for criminal investigation) “is analysing hundreds of financial transactions – having already sent rogatory letters with requests to identify suspect transactions to Switzerland and offshore companies”.
At the base of the multi-million euro triangular scheme, according to Sábado, is Sócrates’ cousin José Paulo Bernardo Pinto Monteiro, whose name also came up in the alleged payment of ‘favours’ in the Freeport scandal.
“Another of the names with connections to the former prime minister … is Carlos Santos Silva, the Covilhã businessman who in 2012 purchased the house of Adelaide Monteiro, the mother of Sócrates, in Lisbon’s Heron Castilho building”.
As the Portuguese press has a field day repeating Sábado’s exclusive story, José Sócrates has denied everything, and the Attorney General’s office has confirmed that he has not been named as a defendant in the Monte Branco case, nor is he likely to be.