Battling Socialist Euro MP “refuses to be silent” over archived fraud investigation

Battling Euro MP Ana Gomes is lodging a complaint with the European Commission over the way Portugal ‘archived’ the Tecnoforma case, despite clear indications of fraud discovered by investigators in Brussels (click here).

Talking to Observador, Gomes has explained: “Judicial authorities are supposed to do their jobs, but this has not happened in Portugal”.

Indeed, says Gomes, judicial authorities “did their utmost to ensure” that time limits kicked in so that criminal charges could not be brought.

In the scandal’s sights were a number of political VIPs, not least former PSD prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho and his former secretary of state and ally Miguel Relvas.

As Gomes sees the situation, it is “habitual in Portugal that when politicians are involved, particularly those of the right – as happened with the CIA flights (during the time of the Iraq war), the Pandur armoured vehicles, the submarines – cases are left to lapse”.

Says Observador, “for Gomes: ‘what is at issue here is not just the misuse of European funds but criminal activity and the very State of Law if politicians were protected”.

“I will not remain quiet”, she told the news service. “I will use the revelations of the report by the European anti-fraud office (OLAF) to take the subject to the European Commission – whether it is to the commissioner for employment (Marianne Thyssen), or the commissioner responsible for justice (Věra Jourová), who has the portfolio for corruption”.

Gomes is a veteran of these kind of initiatives. Her battle to expose alleged Portuguese political skullduggery in the billion euro purchase of two submarines – which led to German intermediaries receiving jail terms – is just one of the arenas in which she has raised her voice while representing the Socialist party in Strasbourg.

She is also keen to get to the bottom of the so-called IT black-out that saw €10,000 billion disappear offshore during the crisis years when the country could have sorely done with the tax income.

But here, response has been habitually low-key: Miguel Relvas has suggested that Gomes is being “malicious” and that the noise she is making is essentially “pointless”, suggesting it could be impugning his honour.

Gomes already faces similar inferences from the boss of Douro Azul, over another wrangle involving more inconvenient questions (click here).

In Portugal, the offence of impugning someone else’s honour is still considered a crime, and for now Relvas is simply demanding an apology.

Passos Coelho, meantime, has said nothing about the latest press references to Tecnoforma, though one of his supporters has been quoted as saying that this is basically just another Socialist ruse to try and blacken the former PSD PM’s name.

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