After the inconvenience of unrelenting media investigation in Mauritius, Angolan businessman Álvaro Sobrinho – the man under whose watch over €4 billion of BES money simply vanished (click here) – is now back under the spotlight in Portugal.
According to tabloid Correio da Manhã – in a story repeated by Observador – he is suspected of having paid Lisbon appeal court judge Rui Rangel to free-up his impounded property empire, valued at 80 million euros.
Around 30 properties were ‘seized’ by the Public Ministry over three years ago in a case involving suspicions of money-laundering, but Rangel ordered their release – on the basis of Sobrinho’s lawyer’s ‘appeal’ that there was no case to answer.
It has always been a decision that raised eyebrows but, at the time, it served to restitute part of Sobrinho’s fortune and he has since been active in Mauritius (click here).
Mauritian media however has been ‘all over him like a rash’ and now has a whole page dedicated to articles questioning Sobrinho’s credentials (click here), describing him as a man who has “splashed the government because of his multiple casseroles in Portugal”.
CM claims that PJ detectives have searched Sobrinho’s offices in Amoreiras (Lisbon), and left with various documents.
The paper maintains that Sobrinho will be made an ‘arguido’ (official suspect) “for corruption, when he comes to Portugal” – which may just serve to warn the businessman that a trip here might not be pleasurable.
Today’s news gets front-page exposure and is connected with Operation Lex which has seen judge Rui Rangel suspended from his functions on suspicions of corruption, trafficking of influences, money-laundering and fiscal fraud (click here).